Nokia is airing a commercial which focuses on how mobile technologies can potentially change film-making. The url www.mobifilms.net appears at the bottom of the screen.
It's a pretty nifty site, with "lessons" for first-time film-makers. There's an example of how 30 seconds of planning can transform a point and shoot video ("a rag-tag collection of boring jerky shots") into something watchable.
The site also links to "First Time Filmmakers", an initiative by Discovery Channel which first debuted in 1995 in Europe. FTF commissions and showcases the work of emerging film makers, and has had two successful runs in China. India should be next on their radar.
Of course, although the initiative is being 'supported by Nokia', these films are not made using mobile phones. My 1 megapixel Nokia 6670 allows 10 minutes of video recording - of awful quality, even to view on a phone.
But I don't doubt a day will soon come when much better filming will be possible. Not television broadcast quality but definitely for mobile and internet viewing.
At JAM, we use a 2 megapixel camera phone to make short films which are hosted on our website. The section is called JAM TV. We've even had a 'hit' - our Rabbi Shergill film has been downloaded over 7000 times.
So yes, becoming a Bollywood director is still a long-shot but I see a day when a few creative individuals - armed with next-generation camera phones - will be able to make a living by selling short films shot and even edited on their phones.
Take a simple example. Today phone providers offer restaurant listings. What if u could actually view a 1 minute video of the restaurant - see what it's like? You might pay 5 bucks to see such a film, before spending 500 bucks there.
The possibilities, really, are endless. 'Interestingly shot' and 'nominally priced' would be the two key factors in success.
Boon or goon
Unfortunately, the reason mobile phone film-making is in the news is quite different. The 'point and shoot' killer application it turns out is porn.
The chart-topper of the week is the Mallika Sherawat video/ MMS. The amusing thing is how many of us are watching it just to confirm whether it's really "Mallika or not".
But celebrities inhabit a different universe. At the end of the day, they come out of these scandals (self-created or otherwise) unscathed.
It's ordinary, girl-next-door videos which are really scary. It started with the DPS MMS clip but there seem to be hundreds of other foolish girls who've let their boyfriends/ husbands film them in various states of undress. And, these clips are floating around everywhere.
There are clips titled 'AmitsGF', 'Policeofficersdaughter' and even 'Suhaagraat' (the woman is wearing mehndi and the chooda traditionally worn after marriage...).
In some cases, the women appear to be unaware they are being filmed, but that can't be true for all. Mobile phone cameras have to be used at a fairly close range.
So the bottomline is they trust these cads. These women are in love and can't imagine their guy would ever do something as disgusting as forwarding a video of a private moment. These women are idiots.
When will the porn clips come to an end? When women stop co-operating with the filming , I should think. Hopefully all the media publicity given to MMS sex clips will drum some sense into their silly heads.
Of course there will always be available bodies , but then they'll be doing it for money - not love. Which makes it cold, commercial and far less exciting than peeping into someone's privacy.
Hopefully, we will eventually tire of all this. And the focus will then shift to how mobile phone technology can change the business of film-making. Not just pornography.