Friday, February 08, 2008

Short-Form Video via Phone


I've been catching up with Jeff Jarvis's dispatches from Davos, along with an interview that he did with Beet.TV concerning his new video dispatches.

Jarvis has been doing video interviews with the Nokia N82, which has been customized by Reuters and Nokia to accept an external microphone; the interviews are streamed live to the Internet via With the exception of the microphone adapter, everything is standard and is available today.

I've been unimpressed with the quality of pictures taken by camera phones, as well as the user interfaces used to control the cameras. I haven't been able to play with the N82, so I can't comment on either the camera phone's quality or ease-of-use, but Jarvis is quite enthusiastic. In any event, the N82 gave him an almost transcendent ability to get interviews with the likes of Sergey Brin, Bono and Hamid Karzai. The camera phone has become such an integral part of day-to-day life that it almost disappears from the conversation, in a way that even small camcorders can't. It reminds me of when I took one of JVC's first DV camcorders to Canada in 1996; it was so small and light that most people didn't even think that it was a camera, let alone a camcorder.

The output of these camera phones won't look like something that's been shot by a conventional three-person crew (camera/sound/reporter,) but it doesn't have to. Short-form video is developing into its own medium, one that has very different quality expectations than either film or broadcast television. Are these camera phones the "Brownie" cameras of this new medium?

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