Archive for the ‘iphone’ Tag

The time machine in your pocket

Real Stories Original Missed Call , shot entirely on an iPhone X, has been nominated in the Social Media Short category at the AHRC Research in Film Awards 2018, which take place on 8th November at BAFTA in London. Extracts from a related article championing smartphone filmmaking in this week’s Broadcast:

2018-11-02 smartphone filmmaking article in broadcast adam gee victoria mapplebeck

The time machine in your pocket

The intimacy and ubiquity of smartphones make them ideal for telling personal stories, argue Victoria Mapplebeck and Adam Gee

Missed Call

Production company Field Day Productions
Commissioner Adam Gee, Little Dot Studios
Length 19 minutes
Producer/director Victoria Mapplebeck
Executive producers Amanda Murphy; Alex Hryniewicz; Andy Taylor

Making the most of the smartphone

Adam Gee
Commissioning editor, Little Dot Studios

I commissioned Missed Call partly because I am a massive advocate of smartphone filmmaking. I also consider Victoria’s 2015 film 160 Characters a pioneering work in this territory.

What’s so special about what is effectively the prequel is that not only was it made largely on mobile phones, but also the narrative is derived from the contents of one old mobile in particular. It contains a resonant text thread that captures the story of a key love affair in the life of the director-cum-protagonist.

Missed Call similarly revolves around mobile phone content – video, photos, emoticons, animations, texts. The aesthetic of the film is rooted in this content, which gives it an original feel.

Between the old Nokia of the first film and the new generation iPhone of this second, the technology has advanced, the details of the graphics evolved, so the look & feel has moved on.

Because the commission coincided with the noisy launch of the iPhone X, I thought we might as well take advantage of the coincidence and be pioneers with the new tech.

I’d seen Michel Gondry’s scripted short Détour, which was shot entirely on iPhone 7. That planted the iPhone seed and I asked Little Dot to buy the then brand-new iPhone X for Victoria to use.

She complemented it with a decent mike (Rode SmartLav+ Lavalier) and a stabiliser (Lanparte 3 Axis Handheld Gimbal) and then got the ball rolling. She started by using it for audio-recording conversations with her son Jim, to make sure he was comfortable, eventually segueing into video recording.

Intimacy and ubiquity

The power of Smartphone filmmaking is intimacy and ubiquity. The kind of intimate conversations Victoria and Jim managed to capture in a natural way were the result of the camera-phone being small and unobtrusive, with no crew attached – part of everyday contemporary life.

And it’s in your pocket all your waking hours (and not uncommonly beside the bed even in your non-waking ones, as we see in Missed Call).

Between this distinctive pairing of characteristics, a whole new highly accessible realm of film-making opens up.

real stories original missed call victoria mapplebeck adam gee jim mapplebeck

Victoria Mapplebeck
Producer/director
Reader in digital arts at Royal Holloway, University of London

How do you reconnect with a father who’s been absent for over a decade? What do you write, what do you say? Add to that dilemma a teenage boy and the realisation that this private journey would very quickly become a public one. There were a lot of sleepless nights on Missed Call, the first commissioned short documentary to be shot on an iPhone X.

The doc is a sequel to 160 Characters, my first smartphone short, which I made for Film London. It brought to life a three-year SMS thread between myself and my son’s father, charting the story of how we met, dated for just a few months, broke up and subsequently dealt with an unplanned pregnancy.

Missed Call explores my relationship with my now fourteen-year-old son Jim. His father came to see Jim a handful of times when he was a baby before deciding that he didn’t want to be involved. Last year, Jim decided he wanted to meet his father and asked if I would make contact with him again.

Executive producer Amanda Murphy helped me navigate the many compliance and ethical issues we faced throughout production. Our aim with Jim’s dad was to preserve his anonymity and to protect Jim in an uncertain unfolding narrative. Squaring the circle of being both filmmaker and parent made this one of the most challenging films I’ve ever made.

For Jim, being filmed by his mum with an iPhone X was no big deal. When he looked into the lens, all he saw was me.

But in my 25 years as a self-shooting director, the camera I film with has gone from needing a bag the size of a small suitcase to one that fits in my back pocket.

Read More

Our phones are like time machines

There’s a great scene in Mad Men when Don Draper is meeting with the team who invented Kodak’s Carousel. As he clicks through his own family album in a darkened boardroom, he begins his pitch:

“In Greek, ‘Nostalgia’ literally means the pain from an old wound, it’s a twinge in your heart… It’s a time machine. It goes backwards and forwards, it takes us to a place where we ache to go again…”

Our mobile phones have become our time machines. My vintage Nokia lies at the back of my kitchen drawer, holding that all-important first text message from Jim’s dad. My new iPhone X can access that devastating last email from him before he cut all contact a decade ago. It also contains the first text I sent him after 12 years of radio silence – and 13 days later, his reply.

My phone contains good memories too: 26,000 photos; 3,000 videos; and the jokey texts Jim sends me from bedroom to living room, requesting another five minutes on the Xbox.

You may love your phone, you may hate it, probably both, but hold it close. It’s your own personal time machine – it connects you with your past, your present and your future. It holds the traces of all your time travel, all the stories that shape you, the good and the bad… forever.

real stories original missed call victoria mapplebeck adam gee jim mapplebeck

{extracts courtesy of Broadcast – full article is here}

 

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Appiness

My most recent project, released last week to mark the start of Series 2 of Live from the Clinic, is 3 Embarrassing Bodies-branded iPhone apps. Here’s the story so far as related by Broadcast today:

Embarrassing Bodies apps near 400,000 downloads in one week

23 May, 2012 | By 

The new trio of Embarrassing Bodies iPhone apps have been downloaded nearly 400,000 times since the start of the new series of Embarrassing Bodies: Live from the Clinic last week.

The main app – My HealthChecker – has had over 300,000 downloads alone. The app includes new tests for eyesight, colour blindness tests, as well as memory and lung function tests. Users can track their results over time and compare them anonymously with the other users.

Sister app My MoleChecker has been downloaded 71,681 times since the launch of the new series, while My SelfChecker has been downloaded 15,061 times.

It is the first time the trio of apps have been made available on mobile and have been developed by Maverick Television, which is also producing the 8 x 60-minute show currently on air.

The MyHealthChecker app has topped the iTunes app store free download chart. C4 multi-platform commissioner Adam Gee, who ordered all three of the apps, said it represented an evolution of the show on mobile.

“Embarrassing Bodies has embraced mobile since the outset of the show but this represents a whole new generation of Embarrassing Bodies mobile through which viewers can do things which they can’t do on a laptop or any other device,” he said. “This trio of apps really makes the most of the portability, personalisation and privacy of smartphones.”

The web version of My HealthChecker has seen 450,000 people register and the Live from the Clinic site is estimated to have helped save the NHS around £662,000.

{Republished courtesy of Broadcast}

App app and away

The summer before last I commissioned the fresh, green loveliness we know as Landshare (www.landshare.net) from Keo Films and Mint Digital. It has now sprouted a verdant little app, currently featured on the App Store.

The Landshare website and campaign has sparked a nationwide revolution over the last year. It connects would-be growers of fruit and veg with people with land to share – and they share the produce.

There are currently 2 growers to every 1 plot offered and the new app is designed to enable the public to take action.

  • Councils will be held to legal task to provide allotments according to their statuary obligations
  • tens of thousands of acres of wasted, unproductive land around the UK is to be identified

The Landspotting function was an idea I originally came up with inspired by a long-empty plot at the end of my road, a wasted gap between the last house and a tyre workshop on the corner.

The app functionality includes:

  • using the camera with geolocating technology
  • giving users live access to expert growers for instant advice
  • extending accessibility and full integration of tools with social networks

The Landshare App is free

The app also gives users direct, on-the-move access to the core Landshare tools – extending its ability to match growers to land, through a postcode driven map and listing database, and more. Already, Landshare has seen more than 3,000 acres of land offered and matches in every region of the UK.

It has been cited by the House of Lords, New Local Government Network, the international Wikinomics team and most recently – the Food Ethics Council – as changing the landscape in food accessibility and security.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall spearheads Landshare and says of the new App: “Landshare has always been, literally, a ground-breaking initiative but now it’s set to really push the agenda. We know there are 100,000 people on council waiting lists in England alone, with up to 40 year waits, plus a significant amount of waiting lists that are actually closed! This app will ensure that councils can no longer shut the door to their legal duty to provide.

Landshare has been at the forefront of the debate on land use and accessibility – it is no longer acceptable to say that the land is not available because most of us pass derelict land in our travels every day. By bringing attention to the scale of space that is already on our doorsteps with “LandSpot”, we hope to help enable this potential to be realised and for much more land to be made fertile.”

The Landshare app launched on Friday (6th August 2010) and can be downloaded free at www.landshare.net/iphoneapp

Users without iPhones can also make use of the new tools at www.landshare.net

Some Landshare facts & figures:

  • Landshare is a movement of more than 50,000 people – and it’s growing daily.
  • The idea came out of Channel 4’s River Cottage, when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped some Bristol families grow food on disused council land.
  • More than 100,000 people are on waiting lists for local authority allotments in England.
  • An estimated 16% of council waiting lists in England are closed.
  • Despite having a legal duty to provide allotments, some 12% of councils do not know what the status of their waiting lists is.
  • The Local Government Association reckon that 200,000 allotments have disappeared in the last 30 years
  • 6 million people in Britain are estimated to be interested in an allotment.
  • There is 60,000 acres of unused rooftop space in London alone.
  • There is an estimated 80,000 acres of official derelict land in England.
  • In Scotland, more than 44% of derelict land is in urban areas.
  • Landshare addresses concern among policy makers about future food security and greenhouse gases from industrial farming and food miles.
  • Landshare was recently cited in “Food Justice: The report of the Food and Fairness Inquiry” published July 2010
  • It’s one of the best things I’ve commissioned at C4.

And the last word to a happy customer on the App Store: “this app literally changed my life”.

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