A Budget Filmmaker’s Lifeline: The Smartphone

Category :News
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Image source – Pixabay

Good indie scripts are sometimes plagued by budget constraints, depriving audiences the chance to experience a new idea. For a creative thinker and filmmaker, however, no hurdle is impossible to overcome. Independent films are being shot in resourceful and innovative ways that are helping many budding filmmakers pursue it more seriously. One such resource bringing indie films to the mainstream is the smartphone.

 

Entertainment galore

Smartphones have been a source of entertainment ever since the mobile revolution a few years ago. Now, they have moved over to the space behind the scenes to make documentaries, short films, and even full-length movies. The reason filmmakers use smartphones is their availability and ease of use. Almost everyone owns a smartphone and it does not take a genius to figure out its workings. Plus, with HD recording and improved sound capabilities being introduced in them, why spend money on expensive equipment?

Even seasoned directors have experimented with smartphone films. Paranmanjang [Night Fishing], the 2011 short film by “Oldboy” director Park Chan-wook, was shot on an iPhone4 with a budget under $150,000. It won the award for Best Short at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. Sin City director Robert Rodriguez made an 11-minute short, “Two Scoops” in 2013 on a Blackberry 10. “Olive”, billed as “the world’s first full-length feature film shot on a smartphone”, was shot on the Nokia N8.

 

Smartphones and film festivals

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Image source – Pixabay

There are also film festivals which welcome filmmakers whose art is rendered exclusively via the smartphone. These festivals include the Mobile Film Festival, iPhone Film Festival, Mobile Motion Film Festival, and Cinephone International Smartphone Shortfilm Festival. Participants can enter their films shot on iOS, Android, and similar mobile systems and connect with others in the industry.

A good smartphone will cost anywhere between $100 and $900. This is a much economical option for filmmakers who are given limited budgets to execute their vision. Many free and paid apps can be downloaded to enhance the quality of the film, add effects, and present a more polished film. Additional riggings can give the filmmaker a better handle on the scenes but the phone remains the master. Also, it is easier to carry a smartphone in your pocket than lug heavy equipment while filming difficult shots or capture spontaneous moments.

There are many creative possibilities for filmmakers that cannot be achieved with more traditional gear. Therefore, the indie scene is not limited to those who have the best tools but is open to anyone with an imaginative spirit and a smartphone.

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