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April 18, 2011

Making TV history with Nokia N8

The recent Finnish Snowboarding Championship proved to be a very special event for more than just the competition.

For the first time ever, a TV programme was filmed and produced using only mobile phone cameras. Using 13 Nokia N8 phones across a six-man film crew, Flatlight Films took to the slopes in Ruka, Finland and delivered an edgy look at the competitors and action from the championship.

You can see the entire 30-minute programme they produced here.

We caught up with Miikka Niemi, CEO and Director of Flatlight Films, to find out more about what made this such an innovative and exciting project to be involved in.

How exciting was it to be involved in the first TV show to be shot on mobile?
“It was great fun. We learnt a lot of new things and had some great experiences over the weekend. All six of us in the team were really stoked to be a part of it.”

Were there any technical hurdles to overcome in production?
“Working with mobile cameras that aren’t meant for high-end video production means there is a lot to think about. The cameras work with automatic exposure, which makes certain shots tricky if you don’t plan a little bit. But people were really interested in the cameras and they way it made them look natural on screen. And because of the size of the phone, we had no restrictions other than our imaginations on where we could shoot.”

What were the differences between your normal film rig and using Nokia N8s?
“Not much actually! We used the same equipment, but had to make different rigs to attach the cameras to. The results were great!”

What’s your favourite footage from the weekend?
“I think all the dolly shots look great. We also managed to get some amazing footage from the perspective of the competitors with the cameras we attached to their helmets. And the timelapse footage is stunning. They’re the ones that really stand out.”

Do you think we’ll see a trend for more TV and films being shot on mobile?
“There’s no doubt that this technology is making things really interesting for the whole film industry. The Nokia HD channel on Vimeo has some great content for example. But you still have to know how to get the best out of the camera. As people learn and use it more, there’s no doubt it’s going to increase the amount of mobile-filmed content we see.”

What are your top tips for budding Nokia N8 filmmakers out there?
“Start using basic tripods and shoulder rigs. Keeping your shots stable makes filmmaking so much easier. And pay attention to the exposure and focus of the camera. Slow pans and tilts work better than fast ones. And just experiment. I think there’s potential for some great travel and music videos to be made with this phone.”

Obviously, the snow in Finland makes it really easy to get out and film Winter sports with Nokia N8 – but we’d love to know what content you’d like to see shot with the camera. And if you’re feeling inspired to make something, definitely let us know and upload your film to the Vimeo channel.

You might just be responsible for the next world first…