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Xiaomi and Huawei get together to make movies. Is it a real story or a marketing gimmick behind it?


Nowadays, domestic mobile phone manufacturers seem to be vying to be film producers. On June 20, Xiaomi announced the establishment of its first global-oriented film studio brand-Xiaomi Studios. According to the studio’s official Weibo, it will be dedicated to exploring the creation of mobile image content. At the same time, Xiaomi Studios also released the name As the creator incentive plan of XIAOMI CREATOR, it plans to solicit public channels for film and television works shot with mobile phones. Xiaomi is not the only manufacturer interested in mobile movies. As Xiaomi’s many years of “friends”, Huawei has already launched the exploration of rivals’ film, the Huawei (Wuxi) Digital Film and Television Joint Innovation Center established in August 2020, and the previous Several short films are good examples. After that, Huawei used the P40/Pro as the equipment to shoot the short film “There are no dangers”. In December, Huawei even established the “New Video Mobile Imaging Master Class” and invited many well-known directors and photographers to endorse. Seeing mobile phone manufacturers collectively “make movies”, we may find it incredible. But look at the larger and larger camera modules of the new phones in your hand, and think about the photographic functions that were blown to the sky at the press conference, and the joint names with Leica and Zeiss…Maybe you won’t be so sure. Mobile movies, are they really popular or just created gimmicks? All this is still worth exploring. Picture from Xiaomi Weibo What exactly is a mobile movie? “Making movies with mobile phones” may be a novel idea in China, but on the other side of the ocean, this creative mode has been going on for ten years. In 2011, American independent film director Hooman Khalili (Hooman Khalili) created the world’s first standard-length feature film shot entirely on mobile phones: “Olive”. The whole story of this movie is shot with a Nokia N8 with a traditional 35mm lens. There is no dialogue in the whole film, but it tells a complete story-how a little girl who can’t speak changed the lives of three strangers. It is worth noting that the production cost of this film is less than half a million US dollars. In the same year that “Olive” was released, South Korean director Park Chan-wook and his younger brother Park Chan-kyung shot the short film “The Waves”, and finally successfully won the Golden Bear Award for the short film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. Interestingly, the photography tools used by the Park brothers are not Nokia, but two iPhone 4. This also reflects the decline of Nokia and the rise of Apple from the side. This is the case. After the Park brothers, more directors began to use iPhone to shoot movies, such as Malik Bundejelu’s “Looking for the Sugar Man”, Ricky Fausham’s “Uneasy Heart”, etc. . Some people have to use this low-cost shooting method because investors withdraw their capital, and some people come here purely with the mood of “playing a ticket”-whether the quality is good or not. Of course, there are some high-quality works among them. In 2015, “Orange” directed by Sean Baker was shortlisted for the Sundance Film Festival and caused a huge response in the American film circle. In this film, Sean Baker uses three iPhone 5s and professional video software FilmicPro. This is also the first time a filmmaker has used video software in the production process of a mobile movie. But with the passage of time, mobile phone movies have gradually become commercialized-different from photographic equipment manufacturers, mobile phone manufacturers need to consider a larger market and audience, and “mobile phones that can make movies” are Great promotional slogan. Picture from Canva drawable Has the mobile phone movie that the big makers watched collectively has become a marketing tool? The brand that first realized this was undoubtedly Apple, which was favored by directors. As early as 2017, Apple began to look for marketing inspiration in the creative form of mobile movies. At that time, Apple hired the famous French director Michel Gang Rui to use the iPhone 7 to shoot a short film called “Détour”. However, although this short film is highly rated in the filmmakers’ small circle, the volume of voice outside the circle is actually not large. The real turning point was in 2018, when Apple invited Hong Kong director Chen Kexin to shoot a short film called “Three Minutes” to congratulate the Chinese New Year. In the short film, Apple used various methods to show the iPhone X’s camera hardware and powerful software. Afterwards, Apple released another short promotional video, blowing a wave of iPhone X camera functions. After that, the Lunar New Year files became Apple’s time to show off their skills. This is true of “A Bucket” in 2019, “Daughter” in 2020, and “Anian” in 2021. The shooting equipment has also evolved from the iPhone X to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The annual Lunar New Year short film seems to urge potential domestic customers: If you have a movie dream, then buy an iPhone. When domestic mobile phone brands have not yet risen, this strategy may be very effective, but in 2018-2020, when the “Huami OV” is showing its glory, Apple’s behavior can only be imitated at the pixel level from friends. After all, No one wants to miss these marketing opportunities. In addition to the Huawei and Xiaomi mentioned above, OPPO also teamed up with the fashion magazine VogueFilm to shoot three micro-films in 2018, intended to promote its own Reno and R17 Pro mobile phones; in addition, Vivo has also not been outside the incident. Co-produced the short film “The Night We Decided to Give Up” with director Yang Qing, and the work was also featured in the FIRST Youth Film Exhibition. Picture from OPPO Propaganda If you just look at the publicity of mobile phone brands, there may really be many consumers who are interested in shooting to pay the bill-after all, the gimmick of “everyone can make a movie” is really alluring. However, it is inevitable that some people will cast doubts on the status quo-this creative mode will really become a trend, like today’s short videos, let the future enter the era of “national movies”? How far is it from us in the era of “movie for all”? The answer is probably “no.” This is determined by the nature of the film and the additional cost required for its creation. First of all, it needs to be clear-although mobile phone manufacturers continue to promote the superior camera performance of their mobile phones, technological advancement has indeed brought a leap forward in mobile phone cameras, but the decline in hardware standards does not mean that the director’s artistic style can also be reduced at the same time. The most basic elements of the film-the script, the summary of the story, the various contradictions and conflicts in the middle, the details of the characters, and finally all of them are compressed into a short film of tens of minutes. This cannot be done by just one person. of. It is the same reason why the big factories have paid for the famous directors instead of the “civil creators” they have always encouraged when making commercial short films. In addition, few mobile phone manufacturers publicly promote the “extra equipment cost” of their short films in addition to mobile phones and editing software. However, these additional costs are often the key to determining the final quality of the film. In the early Park brothers filming “The Waves”, they used the OWE connector, adapter ring and Canon 24-70mm lens to cooperate with the shooting. Among them, the price of Canon’s lens alone can match two or three iPhones; In Apple’s famous “Three Minutes” in World War I, the film crew also used professional drones for aerial shots several times; in addition, in some running shots of “Daughter”, iPhone 11 Pro Max also appeared. Severe jitter phenomenon, but also use the stabilizer to shoot. Picture from Canva drawable It can be seen that the “National Film” cannot be called a tuyere today. At least, this vision will be difficult to achieve until the mobile phone manufacturers adjust the camera module to better. The emergence of major “film industries” is more of creating gimmicks for marketing. Nevertheless, the enhancement of mobile phone cameras is still a good thing for the film industry. After all, directors’ pursuit of portability in film shooting tools is almost endless. From the huge three-primary color cameras in the early years to the miniaturized shooting equipment, to handheld cameras, and today’s smart phones, it can be seen that film production Equipment has been becoming smaller and lighter under demand. Smaller shooting equipment brings not only a reduction in cost, but also shooting in locations that cannot be reached by large cameras, and the resulting movie style will also change. It is conceivable that in the future, more directors will edit and export stories that are suitable for mobile phone shooting and eye-catching, and it may even be possible to develop a creative mode independent of movies. There is no doubt that this can inject a boost into the current film industry, which is increasingly lacking in innovation