Mobile Film 2016

As we move forward through 2016 we realize many people received new smartphones for Christmas. Have you taken a good look at the capabilities of the camera on your phone? Even if you have an older phone, chances are your video camera is capable of shooting full high definition videos that will play nicely on a big screen. That means, that if you were willing to learn a bit about sharing stories through film in the same manner that many independent filmmakers do you can do the same thing with your mobile phone.


Of course, if you have followed us through the last seven or so years, you would realize that the mobile filmmaking industry is moving upwards and is not taking a backseat but instead it may soon take the lead in the independent film industry.

If you ever wanted to make films, the days of borrowing funds, selling your car and perhaps putting your entire future financially at risk to make a movie may be history. Today, most independent filmmakers are adopting more creativity and innovation in their methods for producing films, distributing and marketing them. Your audience is online through not only their desktop and laptop computers but through their portable devices as well. Think of cars, notebooks and the winner of the most accessible mobile device around the world: mobile phones. It is now considered foolish to make films and not allow online distribution.

To watch a film in a theater is awesome. The setting allows us to focus our attention and take us into the story on a screen inside a darkened theater. It is an experience unlike any other. Filmmakers strive to share their stories in such a setting. But the reality is that the public wants to see these films regardless of the setting. A long time ago people watched their favorite shows through UHF and VHF antennas dependent on signals coming through the antennas on the roof of their homes. The signals were sometimes very poor and television programming looked “snowy” and the entire experience was torture. Speed to a few years ago when watching a movie online took forever and you could not get through a minute’s worth without it stopping and waiting for it to load. Today, we are watching quality Hollywood cinematic films on YouTube without pauses and glitches, for the most part.

As video and film content creators emerge and innovate their views and practice using new media in the distribution phase, they are now re-thinking their creation platforms as well. I have always thought of creative and creation as two very connected terms which allow progress through one another. In order to create something which “sticks,” creativity has to be a part of it. More and more films are made with portable cameras such as DSLRs than ever before. If you are lucky enough to have a friend with a Lamborghini then you know your friend doesn’t drive it to run errands at the grocery store and park it next to the shopping cart aisle. When we finally make the purchase for a great camera we don’t typically carry it with us everywhere we go. We also purchase insurance and if you travel you risk damage.

The insurance of most smartphones can be as low as five dollars per month depending on some factors, but generally it ranges from ten to twenty dollars.

We have our phones with us all the time and mobile phones have become an expectation in society such as wearing a purse. It is very acceptable, more than ever before, to walk into a commercial building with a mobile phone, take a selfie and “check in” on social media. As a matter of fact, many places encourage this by rewarding you with discounts and rewards as part of their marketing campaigns.

Seven years ago, the notion of making films with mobile phones was a new concept. Today, it is a more common practice. It is finally garnishing the attention of established filmmakers as more and more new filmmakers choose the medium to get their foot into the door of the independent film industry. But as the popularity grows the word is out and the media is beginning to give it the attention it deserves. Most people are still unaware about the reality of what this has done for the filmmaking industry.

Mobile filmmaking is not simply about a new camera with which to make films for people in the industry. Mobile filmmaking is about giving everyone who has a mobile phone a free ticket into the film industry!

Whether you are experienced or not, you can play with the camera in your pocket and make short films. You learn by doing and as you do it, you learn more.

Let’s say you were in film school. You learn through small filmmaking projects. The thing is that now, we have a camera which does not need the attention and experience of a professional to produce decent footage. If you are on social media, you may notice the video of the cat doing something interesting is focused, exposure is decent and colors are vibrant or realistic in nature. It is basically point-and-shoot technology. Very consumer friendly, and also very online friendly.

What this means, is that to upload the video footage online it doesn’t require compression through software. What it also means is that anyone in the world can do it regardless of education and experience. Your grandmother may have posted a video on social media last week and it’s not bad.

In order to keep up with technology we must remember it is trying to keep up with us. Technology is not something to fear but to embrace. What technology can and does generally do depends on how we use it. If we use our phones to make films then phones will naturally have better cameras. It’s quite simple really. And most of us in the mobile film industry knew that years ago. It is wonderful to be here today as part of an emerging platform which has been made possible by consumers who wanted to make films and technology manufacturers who wanted to make it possible. It is an ongoing process still under development but it is definitely a growing industry to take part in. The fork in the road of the entertainment and film industry is merging into an innovative platform and it is a platform that is realizing the dreams of many people around the world through something we all make a priority to have, our mobile phones.


MFF2015 Filmmakers in San Diego.

If you would like to be a part of it then you may not have to buy another camera. Instead, pull your phone out of your pocket and see the possibilities. Take note and begin to practice.

Just yesterday, we ended our mobile filmmaking bootcamp with some people who had never participated or experienced video and film production. For them, it was an amazing experience to be a part of it. They put their hands on things that were “hands off” before yesterday. They were inspired by their experience to make their own films and be a part of an industry which has been reserved for professionals and experienced filmmakers. The fact is that everyone has the camera in their pocket.


You can learn how to be a great cook or how to change the oil in your car online. You can learn how to make a movie through a bit of guidance and research too. The rest is up to you just like any professional filmmaker. You begin by doing it. Get some friends and make a short film. Tell a story. It may only be a one minute film. Just do it. You will learn so much by practicing that it will inspire you to make awesome films. Your films can compete in film festivals around the world. There is a directory on our own film festival website that has mobile film festivals from all around the world.


Join us in San Diego for our 5th anniversary annual International Mobil Film Festival™  on April 30 & May 1st and be inspired. Meet people in the industry. Meet filmmakers on the red carpet and celebrate their films during an award ceremony as we award the selections from the judging panel. We will include a workshop and many other innovative mobile film programs to bring the future of the world into the phone in your pocket and will also share the magic of having a dream and realizing it. That is as special as the stories you have to share.


© 2016 S. Botello Productions™ All rights reserved.

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