Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Michel Courtoy, Shelly Palmer, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Article

The World's Smallest Film Festival

The World's Smallest Film Festival

Mixing creative collaboration with technical ingenuity, the World's Smallest Film Festival is finding innovative ways to encourage the development of mobile content.

Combine the services of a mobile content aggregator with the excitement of a film festival, and you get the World's Smallest Film Festival, an ongoing project of BigDigit, Inc. (www.bigdigit.com). By soliciting submissions of films that are specifically targeted for use on mobile phones, the festival seeks to encourage and reward the creation of mobile content. "It's an ideal way to combine the technology with the creative elements that get people passionate," says Beau Buck, the company's CEO.

The first two full-scale festivals have been held at CTIA Wireless 2003 in New Orleans and at Mobile Commerce World 2003 in London. Entries were accepted, finalists were chosen, and winners were announced at the conferences. Buck says there are plans for festivals in 2004 at the National Association of Television Program Executives' annual conference, and at a government- sponsored event in South Korea. "It's captured the attention of a lot of people," he says.

The strength of the World's Smallest Film Festival lies in its ability to engage all parties who have an interest in encouraging content development. It attracts the interest of manufacturers and operators who want to obtain more content, and it also excites content developers at a grassroots level. "Short filmmakers are always looking for a market for their content - there are very few ways to make money in that business," Buck says.

Defining the Festival
Due to the unique nature of the festival, Buck says it's taken some time to determine the best format for entries. "We began the first festival with fairly traditional film categories - drama, comedy, animation, etc.," he says. "For the second show, we decided to have the content come in first, then see how we would categorize it. We ended up with categories like comedy and satire, of course, but also with categories that were a little more designed to fit the content." The new categories included experimental, instructional, and episodic.

In addition to supporting content creation in general, another focus for the festival is the encouragement of growth in specific geographic regions. "We have the ability to go into a regional market, put on a contest, and aggregate content that's unique to the interests of that particular audience," Buck says. "We've been asked to do one of these film festivals in Brazil along with Telexpo, and they want Brazilian content. We're in a position to get that."

The point is that, unlike a traditional mobile content aggregator, BigDigit has the ability to attract otherwise unknown content creators. "We cast a wide net," Buck says. "We get the people who are making films as hobbies, and that's a really fragmented market. We get students, student filmmakers, hobbyists, and then of course some filmmakers and animators who are serious about it. We can really reach into the grass roots of content makers out there."

A Winning Entry
Because this is such a new medium, most films entered into the festival aren't created specifically for mobile phones, but they all have to work well on a two-inch screen. That means that images can't be too complex or rely on too much detail, there can't be any quick cuts, and the editing has to be relatively straightforward. Simple, funny stories, Buck says, often fit the format best.

One such film is "Rex & Red" (www.ludicrousproductions.com/rex), the winner in the comedy category at the most recent festival in London. The two-minute short follows the adventures of a group of plastic dinosaurs in an office after the owner has gone for the day. Made using stopmotion animation, the film tells a simple, funny story without using any spoken language. That makes it ideal for this kind of format, even though Chad Meserve, the film's director, admits that it wasn't shot with mobile phones in mind.

Still, Meserve says the idea of making content for mobile phones in the future is an attractive one. Independent filmmakers generally don't have the money or the influence to get their films seen by a wide segment of the public, so opportunities like this are worth pursuing. "It's a way of circumventing traditional means of distribution, especially for shorts," Meserve says. "Outside of film festivals and maybe occasionally on cable channels like HBO or IFC, the public at large doesn't really see short films."

Even without compensation, he says, he'd still consider using the format to attract attention to his other work. "It would be a good way to throw somebody a little taste, even if it's for free, that associates my name or the name of my production company with something that cracks a smile," Meserve says. "Then they might pick up my DVD at the video store, or go to my Web site and find out about other things that I've done."

Smaller Is Better
Ray Anderson is the founder and CEO of Bango.net (www.bango.net), which helps operators and content providers both deliver and charge for content on mobile phones. Bango.net provided hosting for the most recent World's Smallest Film Festival in London, enabling access to the entries on mobile phones.

It's important to remember, Anderson says, that there can be significant benefits to working with such a small screen. "You really have to take advantage of the user proximity and the small screen size," Anderson says. "You can send a very small size video that has great impact because it occupies the whole of a small screen. A one-inchsquare video on a PC wouldn't have much impact, but it does when it takes up the whole screen on your phone."

As the festival heads into its second year, Anderson says the quality of the entries has been gradually increasing. "We've seen dozens of quite nice, fairly creative mini movies," he says. "Some of the creative animated ones are very good, small cartoons that are more like South Park than Prince of Egypt. It's amazing what you can do on a small screen, and I think we're really just providing a foundation for people to innovate."

Coding the Content
Still, Buck admits that it has been a challenge to help content developers format their films correctly. To that end, BigDigit has been working with France Telecom to transcode films automatically into the Streamezzo (www.streamezzo.com) format for use on mobile devices. "We've been approached by a number of authoring platforms to provide this kind of service," Buck says. "It helps them expand their developer base, and it allows us to make use of this archive of digital content."

BigDigit learned a key lesson in this regard when soliciting entries for the first festival this past spring. "We thought this was such a great opportunity for creative content makers that we'd just tell them how to make it mobile," Buck says. "So we published the specifications - it's got to be a bit rate of this and a frame rate of that, this screen size and this pixel depth. And we got no entries. It was just way over everybody's heads."

That experience, Buck says, led to the Streamezzo collaboration. "Content makers are not technical people," he says. "There are certainly some who are technical and creative, but most content makers are just regular people who like to take a digital camera and snap some shots or make little films. And I think you preserve the creative juice of it by letting them do what they do well - and letting us do the heavy lifting and make it mobile."

The Operator Relationship
In the process, BigDigit has compiled a growing library of mobile content, and Buck says the company is now actively marketing that content to operators. "The operators and handset makers are counting on mobile multimedia content to get people to upgrade their handsets," he says. So rather than charging end users directly for each short film they view, he anticipates selling blocks of content to operators, who would then provide it to their customers as a value-added service.

At the same time, to keep the World's Smallest Film Festival in the loop and to make sure that end users feel like they're part of the process, Buck envisions a collaborative relationship with operators in which customers are encouraged to submit films to the festival over the operator's network, and the films are then viewed and rated by fellow users.

Over the long term, the aim is to create a selfsupporting ecosystem of content creation using a relatively simple process. "The film festival leads to integration opportunities, and the whole thing creates more content, which is aggregated and licensed out, and then yields more opportunities to do more film festivals," Buck says.

More Stories By Jeff Goldman

Jeff Goldman is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology issues. Brought up in Belgium, Jeff spent the last decade in New York, Chicago, and London; he now lives in Los Angeles.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...