Smartphones: Revolutionising the mobile video space

Back in April, I was asked by the wonderful folks behind the group Mobile Monday in Adelaide if I would be interested in presenting at one of their sessions. Having been actively interested in smartphones since I bought my first back in 2009, I agreed to present and decided to look into what was coming up on the mobile video front. After spending several hours trawling through specifications, articles and forecasts (many hosted by the terrific website GSMarena.com) I assembled my observations into a series of slides and transferred them directly to my LG Viewty Smart GC900 phone. Why, do I hear you ask? Well, the days of the laptop presentation are over my friends. When I chose to invest in my LG handset last year, one of the exciting new features was a composite video output. By running a cable directly from my phone to Mobile Monday’s provided desktop projector, I was able to give the presentation from the palm of my hand.

These early generation smartphones are not without their limitations, but change is afoot. Offering faster processors, better resolution screens, more storage space and more flexible operating systems as general improvements, we’ll be watching the decline of the phone and the emergence of the pocket media and communications centre before the year is through.

Since giving this presentation, exciting new models have already been announced, including several with HDMI output capabilities. The Android operating system is also proliferating, though my new Smartphone will most likely be Nokia’s N8, which runs the Symbian 3 operating system. I went to a conference in Sydney on Friday and came extremely close to not taking a laptop. With a device like Nokia’s forthcoming N8, I will be able to connect to a hotel or conference centre TV, flip out a collapsible wireless bluetooth keyboard and have a seriously powerful pocket computer at my hip.

Not only that, it will also have a 720p HD video and 12MP stills camera built in, and a squillion other attractive productivity and lifestyle features. As a digital media professional who likes to keep mobile, this wave of change is one I’ll be riding all the way.

Dan Monceaux

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Tomorrow Studio: Our first year in a digital media business incubator

It’s been great being a part of the maturation of Tomorrow Studio, South Australia’s first ever digital media business incubator, as its first birthday officially rolls by. From launching a bold idea brimming with promise, the SA Government’s Department of Trade and Economic Development can now take pride in the the tangible outcomes for start-up businesses they’ve helped facilitate. South Australia’s digital media sector is indebted to you.

When we moved danimations into the Tomorrow Studio in Adelaide back in June last year, we could not have predicted how attached to the initiative (and the community growing inside of it) we would become. As one of the original wave of tenants, we’ve seen businesses come and go, but more importantly, we’ve seen our own attraction to the place shift from the dangling carrot of Government-subsidized rent to the more valuable ready access to business partnerships and opportunities to learn and grow.

Emma Sterling & Dan Monceaux in the Tomorrow Studio

Entering the Tomorrow Studio (and enjoying the low overheads) allowed danimations to tool up to offer new services, and position ourselves well in the emerging market of online video service providers. It also provided us with a very attractive and functional premises in which to hold meetings and generally operate. As months went by, we got to know our fellow tenants and built trusting relationships with the more compatible businesses. As you would expect in a space populated with businesses in start-up mode, not all collaborative projects have had happy endings. From our own successes and failures, and those of others, we have identified and realized present and future business opportunities that we simply would not have been exposed to otherwise. We’ve also made some wonderful, new, creative friends in the process.

Moving into the incubator dragged Emma Sterling and I out of our home-office, and into the beginnings what has become a burgeoning and vibrant digital media community. Our commercial collaborations really fired up after we presented a workshop to fellow tenants on the merits of developing a video showreel to promote your business. Intelligent Software Development then contracted us to deliver a promotional video for them, in under a week.

The delivered product attracted our next job, for a start-up engineering firm WirebyClick. We worked with Extra Artists’ (now Soda Cube) on the Wirebyclick video incorporating 3D animation for the first time, satisfying another client and developing a collaborative workflow with our studio neighbours.

Fellow neighbours Proactive then saw our work and contracted us to deliver a video to help them market their product, Proactive Vue. Again, we delivered on spec, on budget and on time and in the process developed some new production techniques.

Proactive Vue – Realtime Paperless Publishing for business from Dan Monceaux on Vimeo.

Since then, we have included the skills of SodaCube and those of Awesome Fighter Animation in several more commercial tenders. On a more exciting front, we are also embarking on some speculative ventures with Boomerang Books and Cresell IT independently. Another great thrust of creative energy has already been invested in the Triple Threat Animation project, along with fellow artists Awesome Fighter Animation and games developer I Love Biscuits. With a focus on developing entertainment-based intellectual property designed for online commercialization, you can find out more about that project after it officially launches at AVCON on the 23rd of July. What do you know? Adelaide’s premiere video games and anime event is a studio tenant too.

The experience of calling an industry-specific business incubator home for the past twelve months has been (for the most part) overwhelmingly positive. We’ve grown and developed faster, and with better integration into the digital media community here in SA than we possibly could have while working from our home. I sincerely hope that news of the Tomorrow Studio’s many virtues and success stories spreads far and wide, and that the model is transposed to benefit emerging business and cultural communities in other sectors in the future.

Dan Monceaux

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