Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Jose Diaz, Elizabeth White

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
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...