Style Guide for Mobile Narratives

Shooting Video for Mobile Videos

In a recent test, we compared how well four different projects compared in terms of their compressed data rates. It did not surprise us that a 3D animated short compressed to the smallest file relative to its running length. Nor did it surprise us that video shot on a high end consumer camera produced the largest file relative to its running length.

Think Small
Shooting video for a mobile video has special challenges because of the wide diversity of delivery platforms, from cell phones with 2 inch screens to iPhones and other portable media with much larger screens and higher video resolutions. If you want your mobile viral video to travel far and wide, then you need to think small and short. A typical mobile video resolution is 176x144, with file sizes ranging from 100kb to 1 megabyte. iPod resolution, 320x240, is becoming more common.

Mapping the Creative Dimensions of Mobile Video

In this article, we are going to get your creative juices going, by exploring a few ideas for mobile video shorts or programs.

We can say that what sets mobile video apart from other media is its “contextual” difference. Unlike a movie theater, a 40-inch LCD TV or a 20 inch LCD computer monitor, which are embedded in a fixed context (a cinema, the den or living room), a portable computer with Internet connectivity like Apple’s iPhone is stored in your pocket and activated whenever and wherever you find a need to connect (to the Internet or to another person) or when an SMS message or phone call prompts you to take it out of your pocket.

The Short Guide to Creating Mobile Video

Creating a mobile video is actually very easy, especially for those who have created digital video for the Internet or submitted a video to YouTube. If you have not created video for the Internet or mobile playback, we’ll be providing a lot of detailed help in the tutorials that follow this.

Essentially all the rules governing the creations of video for the Internet also govern mobile video production. The focus is on creating a video that compresses really well. The video needs to be small both in terms of the final file size as well as the data rate of the video at any given moment. The smaller the file size, the quicker the video will start playing. The smaller the amount of changes from one frame to the next, the more smoothly and cleanly the video will play after compression.

The Long Night's Journey Into Day

For those who survived our longest solstice night and are tuned to seasonal celebrations, here’s a chestnut about mobile context-aware community narratives that hopefully brings some warm inspiration to your fireside reflections.

Christmas is just one child within a large family of cultural traditions that were born from or married into ancient human observances of the winter solstice.  As an astronomer-by-first-vocation living in Vancouver I was intrigued to study the miraculous birth story of the Pacific north coast, sometimes called Raven and the First People or Raven Steals the Daylight.  One dimension of this story is captured brilliantly in Haida artist Bill Reid’s “The Raven and the First Men” sculpture at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. Raven is a complex trickster and this story is a focal point of the Raven Traveling myth cycle.  The epic poetry of north coast mythology is illuminated in Robert Bringhurst’s fascinating trilogy starting with “A Story as Sharp as a Knife”.

It's pronounced "bee an nahl lay".

Continuing on from our previous chat with Leora Kornfeld of Ubiquity Interactive, we discuss the details of the metroCode Biennale cell phone tour.

How did the idea for Biennale come about? What are some great things about it so far, and what are some difficulties?

Our team describes our mobileMUSE project metroCode as, “Making the city clickable.”  The idea is being able to use your cell phone to interact with things in the city by ‘browsing’ and ‘activating’ them. 

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