The Italian Almanac

cell phone camera

Italian News - June 18

The theme is familiar to many independent movies - explicit chat about love and sex - but the tool used to shoot an Italian feature-length documentary is new: a standard cellphone camera. Italian directors have completed a 93-minute documentary they said is the first feature film to be entirely shot by such a technique. Called New Love Meetings, it was filmed in a MPEG4 format with a Nokia N90 - a regular, higher-end cellphone on sale around the globe.

The technique underscores what has become a fixture in today's globalized world: the use of amateur video and cellphone cameras to immortalize moments in people's lives. Also, when news breaks, early footage is often shot with a cellphone and in the case of major events authorities and news outlets have been known to call on amateurs to come forward with video.

When it comes to movies, though, cellphone cameras present limits, such as the difficulty to film in darkness or the lack of microphones. As a result, the movie mostly features close-ups, and the image, while overall clear, is slightly shaky. Directors said Tuesday no post-production manipulation was made on the image.

The directors' idea was to do a modern version of the 1965 documentary Love Meetings by Pier Paolo Pasolini, the famed film director and writer found beaten to death 30 years ago. Low costs and greater flexibility were among the reasons why Seghezzi and Mencarini decided to use a cellphone. Now, producers are looking at ways to distribute the film.