Rob Dickinson, former band leader of “The Catherine Wheel” (and cousin of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson), has shot the video clip of his new single, “Oceans” (iTunes), using a Nokia N93 cellphone. The Symbian-based smartphone has a 3.2MP camera that is capable of capturing VGA video at 30fps with its Carl Zeiss optics. You can view the video at Yahoo!’s Music site (with IE) or via VLC. When the N93 was first launched Nokia tried to market the phone as the first DVD-quality capture phone in the market, but this is the first time that such a device is used for serious, professional purposes.
Camera Phone Used to Shoot Professional Music Video Clip
About The Author
Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.
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2006-11-12 4:06 pmthjayo
As a film-making student of a third world country I can assure your comment true.
We’ve been making short-movies with Cybershots and even low-resolution cell cameras, and so far the results have been way better than we expected.
The only shortcoming that I notice is that the sound just goes AWFUL, I usually rebuild the sound completely from scratch, with old buddie Audacity and the editing capabilities of Cinelerra.
2006-11-12 7:21 pmEugenia Loli
Yes, audio is bad, it’s always mono 11khz. My idea that such hardware can be used is only for video, voice-overs or audio-on-top must be put later on using Premiere or FinalCut.
2006-11-12 9:57 pmtupp
Most of the expense of nice looking music videos is not for the camera. The cost is primarily in crew, additional talent (dancers, actors), lighting/grip equipment rental, location fees, stage rental, art department, post production, etc. All of these items contribute to the look of the images. These expenses are not eliminated just because one uses a camera having reduced resolution/color-depth.
However, there can be some differences in how one shoots with a non-professional camera. To compensate for the loss of camera quality, one might shoot more close-ups or utilize more deeply saturated colors, or change the amount of fill light, etc. If an inferior camera is being used for a coarse effect, it would be wise to shoot a backup with a professional camera, while everything is still set-up. Some sequences can be shot with two cameras simultaneously, as long as the music artist doesn’t have to look directly into the lens.
The director of a music video often is not the one creating the images. The director of photography (DP) is primarily responsible for the images and look of the piece. DPs sometimes rely on a production designer and/or a gaffer. A director usually tells the DP what type of look is desired and gives approval/disapproval.
Ideally, the image is mostly achieved in-camera, because a lot of post-production finessing/correcting can be costly and can yield inferior results.
In regards to thjayo’s post (although this point doesn’t usually apply to music videos), looping or overdubbing dialog is usually time consuming and less convincing than just recording the sound properly the first time, on set, which means one should use an audio mixer/boom operator who knows what he/she is doing. The sound is half of the movie — it is well worth the money to hire a pro.
By the way, for $300, one could rent a nice HDV camera package (including monitor, tripod, matte-box, filters, etc.) for the weekend, instead of purchasing a lower quality camera/camera-phone and tripod.
Edited 2006-11-12 22:06
Why bother posting the link at all if only a minority of those reading this site can view it? 😐
(ok, slightly facetious, but why isn’t this stuff on youtube so at least the Firefox users on windows can watch it?
2006-11-12 12:18 amEugenia Loli
The MMS URL for the video is this (so VLC can view it via its Network open dialog):
>why isn’t this stuff on youtube
The video was world-released YESTERDAY. Give it time.
Edited 2006-11-12 00:31
2006-11-12 1:09 amEugenia Loli
Apparently Yahoo! has released a Firefox XPI extension in the meantime. So Firefox uses should be able to view the videos, at least on Windows.
2006-11-12 4:13 amPowerMacX
“why isn’t this stuff on youtube?”
From the article blurb: “The [phone] has a 3.2MP camera that is capable of capturing VGA video at 30fps with its Carl Zeiss optics. […] Nokia tried to market the phone as the first DVD-quality capture phone in the market”
I don’t think watching it as a blocky 240×180 YouTube video would bring any insights in this case 😉
2006-11-12 1:25 pmfalemagn
> (ok, slightly facetious, but why isn’t this stuff on
> youtube so at least the Firefox users on windows can
> watch it?
It works on Firefox just fine, no idea why IE is said to be a requirement up there in the news item.
That song was pretty terrible…but that’s pretty cool. I’ve been wanting to play with an N93, haven’t gotten to yet, but the quality looked very good.
2006-11-12 12:22 amEugenia Loli
I love the song. I think it has an amazing melody.
Another group that shot a video with cell phones is Presidents of the United States of America. Actually they were the first to do it with the song “Some Postman.” More info can be found here http://www.presidentsrock.com/news/archive.php?entry=116 and it also explains it better than I can.
2006-11-12 12:35 amEugenia Loli
I found their video clip here:
Apparently they shot in 3GP format in CIF resolution… Pretty bad quality overall, but good enough for webcasts.
I don’t like the song, but am impressed by the quality of the video. Amazing.
perhaps its just me, but i think they should just scrap all the old mobiles video and just stick to a fixed 25fps and one of the US versions perhaps.
i hate it when they show mobile content on the news, its just so blocky.
only 25fps (24 if you need that)in any res or format should be acceptable today.
“HDTV-quality videos at 15 or 30 fps” while it might sound good ,it isnt a real HDTV 25fps and a good bitrate quality no matter what device is used to shoot it, perhap if it didnt have so much blockyness i might have accepted it as something cool, but their not there yet….. IMO
Edited 2006-11-12 02:45
Funny this should come up…..I just finished compiling a DVD made of 31 minutes of footage from an aviation course I’ve completed, almost all of which is shot using a Canon SD200 Powershot (3.2 Mpx) digital capturing 640 x 480 at 30fps. The result isn’t really all that bad…..about the only thing I noticed is the camera tends to not deal overly well with reflected sunlight and has some colour balance issues. The only other thing I’ve noticed is no amount of software filtering can substitute for the lack of use of a tri-pod, the lack of image stabilization being native to the camera, nor is it possible to hide the shaky-ness of my hands.
2006-11-12 8:01 pmEugenia Loli
I actually blogged about digicam capture here, just last night:
The Panasonic Lumix digicam is really cool, it can capture HD resolution videos these days!
The director of Dickinson’s video is Mike Hodgkinson.
A month ago I blogged about how “cheap” it can be these days to shoot a video clip for indie artists:
In my blog I mention that a cheap $300 camcorder will do the trick, but it seems that even a semi-good digital camera that you already have will do just fine.
For example, Panasonic’s Lumix or the new Canon IXUS 900 Ti digicam that uses the DigicIII are able to shoot… HDTV-quality videos at 15 or 30 fps! And I am sure that their quality will be better than any camera phone. Or an older digicam that can shoot VGA at 30fps should be at least as good as the Nokia phone!
My point: it is really cheap to shoot using such devices! But it does require extra care and talent from the director and Premier/FinalCutExpress user to make the clip actually look good, as usually these lenses are not as good with low light.