A Movie Studio in Your Pocket


Stills from Nuovi Comizi d’Amore (New Love Meetings) by Marcello Mencarini and Barbara Seghezzi.

Two Italian filmmakers, Marcello Mencarini and Barbara Seghezzi, have completed a feature-length movie shot entirely with a mobile phone. It’s an interview-centered documentary, which seems the ideal form for a mobile phone movie. Here’s what they have to say about the work:

Project’s philosophy: this project arises from one of our main belief: today who does not make a film It is because he has nothing to say. The new technologies (mltiDV and HO camcorders) give back to everybody the chance to regain their creativity to communicate trough images. We have chosen the easiest and less intrusive mean: the mobile phone. We privileged natural light and only in rare cases we illuminated with a made in china flashlight. The two of us made the entjre shooting and editing. The sound was taken by the same mobile phone without any additional microphone and later optimized in postproduction.

What a fantastic and liberating idea. I particularly love the (bolded) confrontational and manifesto-like accusation that because technology has put filmmaking in every westerner’s pocket, those of us who aren’t making movies are pretty much worthless. It’s Futurism without the fascism.

I imagine such micro-filmmakers would carry around some minimal additional equipment like extra batteries and a flashlight in order to make the production just a tiny little bit more professional without losing the spontaneous quality of the final result.

Using a mobile phone would seem at first to be a cheap novelty: why not simply bring a very small video camera? Even most digital still cameras can shoot video, and almost certainly at a better quality than a phone can. But I think the mobile phone aspect is important, since the informality of it defuses the gravity, such as it is, that people feel when they are “on camera”.

With web-based distribution (such as YouTube or Google Video, or even the iTunes Store) being the best-case scenario for most filmmakers these days, a low-resolution, highly-compressed image quality isn’t a signficant drawback to watchability, either. It’s only when the filmmaker aspires to wider distribution either via television or cinematic release that higher-quality footage becomes a concern.

The thing most amateur videographers mess up, however, is the sound: if the sound is bad — either because it is too low or drowned out by other ambient sounds, then the footage is often rendered useless. The sounds from a small mobile-phone microphone are pretty terrible. Do they make mobile phones with plug-ins for microphones that work with the video recorder, that is do any phones have jacks that can accommodate high quality mics?


2 responses to “A Movie Studio in Your Pocket”

  1. I am the coauthor of the movie and I’d like to be cited as well since the movie has been shooted by me and Marcello Mencarini together, every single step together, from the original idea to the shooting, editing and promotion


  2. Barbara: Sorry! I don’t know how I could have made that mistake. I’ve corrected the post.