Everyone who holds a mobile phone is the director of life

On January 25, 1896, in the Café de Capuchin in Paris, people panicked when they saw a train whizzing towards them, thinking that the train was about to dash off the screen.

This was the first screening of the Lumiere Brothers' "A Train Into a Station," which was only 50 seconds long, but is considered to have kicked off the history of cinema.

In fact, before that, Louis Lumière used 44 seconds to show the dramatic conflict and character relationships in another "Watering the Gardener", becoming the originator of future drama films.

As director Jia Zhangke said, short films are the original form of film, and film history itself begins with short films .

But unlike the past 100+ years, the right to visual expression no longer belongs only to professional creators. The improvement of mobile phone shooting performance not only lowers the threshold of creation, but also brings more diverse expressions.

The recently updated "Second Uncle", the creator used a slightly rough picture and plain language to tell the plain and tortuous life of the second uncle. Although there are many disputes, it is undeniably a very infectious video work.

Images with realistic tension like this are constantly emerging. These days I was at the Xining FIRST Youth Film Festival, and this feeling was even stronger.

FIRST has come out of Wen Muye, Xin Yukun and other well-known filmmakers, and in this year's vivo x FIRST super short film competition unit, I saw more diverse creators, high school students, dessert chefs, bank clerks, bards…

Many of them use mobile phones as their shooting tools. The de-elite creators and tools bring a sincere and fresh texture, which is the biggest difference from the feature films in the main competition unit.

▲Song Wen, founder of FIRST Youth Film Festival.

In the words of Song Wen, founder of the FIRST Youth Film Festival, devices such as mobile phones can allow everyone to find the right to speak in their own creations in a lower-cost way.

The value of images is being reinvented.

Five-minute super short film, the realistic tension of life

The duration of the FIRST Ultra Short Film is limited to 5 minutes, and entries that use professional-grade equipment throughout the film will not be accepted.

This means that creators need to make full use of the characteristics of different media, from cameras to mobile phones and even dash cams, which instead brings unrestrained creative expression, and lightweight expression does not mean shallow, just like last year's FIRST annual ultra-short film The director Liu Kuan said:

Five minutes is a seemingly light volume, but it is actually heavy because it requires you to be more precise and think more.

In these 5-minute slices of life, there are sharp cuts to social issues, subtle recognition of universal emotions, keen insight into the living conditions of contemporary people, and bold breakthroughs in creative forms and creative methods.

I also want to talk about some of the works that left a deep impression on me.


The first is the opening film "Lingding" of the FIRST ultra-short film unit. There are almost only two front and back shots in the whole film. An actor plays two roles, a sofa, and a TV screen is used as a window connecting reality and heaven.

In the dark of night, Alai accidentally had a conversation with his late grandfather that spanned time and space. The seemingly open-minded grandfather still regrets his past regrets. Alai, who lacks a family, chooses to "lie down", a map of an ordinary family. slowly unfolded.

The pale light illuminates the dim room in one corner, and the bright heaven in the TV creates an absurd and fantastic atmosphere, and the sense of loneliness spreads in the image.

In a story that relies on dialogue to advance, the gloom of the real space, the brightness of the virtual world, the details of the characters, and the transformation of light and dark, in fact, the director's scheduling and equipment shooting performance requirements are not low.

So much so that at one point I had a hard time believing that these shots were shot entirely with my phone, knowing that I was watching this short film on the big screen.

In fact, even director Na Jiazuo was surprised by the shooting. He said that the film was created with vivo X80 Pro. "Including the performance of our scenes and the performance of the characters, the details are quite rich."

"Lingding" can be said to be the director's exploration of the limits of mobile image creation.

▲ "Lingding" main creator Na Jiazuo (right), Zhou You (left)

Na Jiazuo has made more feature films before, and was shortlisted for the Cannes Film Festival with "Street Baby" last year. You can also see how the new generation of filmmakers use new media and tools to expand the imagination of "narrative".

Mobile phones are more exercise is the way of thinking, the immediate response of the moment. It will have some contingency, which is not easy to do in traditional movies.

"Planet B602"

This year's FIRST annual super short film gives this work that expresses the life style of the epidemic from a different perspective. The 5-minute timescale is stretched in the film, just as the epidemic has changed our perception of time in the past two years.

"Planet B602" establishes a simple but powerful metaphor. The dorm room has become a planet that condenses the boring life of home isolation, just like the planet B612 where the little prince lives. You can see the echo of the two from the title of the film.

This planet B602 has 24 months in a year, and the rhythm of the seasons is controlled by a clock that seems unfamiliar. In fact, this is a day in the real dimension. "Live like a year" is not the resonance of many people in that period.

This is an image expression of "from life, higher than life", as mentioned in the award speech of this work:

This ultra-short film is a meditation on the relationship between ourselves and the short and tedious time, and our desire to experience a world beyond our boundaries.


This is a short film adapted from a true story. When Ayu learned that his parents' truck would pass the highway in the south of the city the next day, he decided to cross the school fence, through the woods, cemeteries, and fields, just to get on the highway. Down the hillside, I just said hello to my parents who passed by.

After 30 seconds of the whole film, there are almost no lines, but it presents the purest and sincere emotions of the teenager. And the final whistle of the big truck was a response to this emotion.

This super short film makes full use of the different characteristics of the mobile phone to complete the image expression, which is also an important reason why the film won the best creation award for vivo mobile phone in the super short film unit.

Ayu's running to the highway is a stack of missing emotions, and the handheld follow-up shots with the vivo X80 Pro are also stable enough.

This video anti-shake effect is due to vivo's unique micro-gimbal technology. Our previous evaluation also mentioned that it offsets part of the shake through the movement of the mechanical structure, improves the stability of the lens, and has excellent motion anti-shake and portability. For ordinary creators, it lowers the threshold for the realization of complex mirror movements.

▲ "Highway" Zhang Zhongchen

Zhang Zhongchen also mentioned a behind-the-scenes footage on the super short film forum. A thunderbolt scene in the film was actually recorded with a mobile phone, and the script was adjusted according to the material of the thunderbolt.
The biggest feeling of creating with a mobile phone is that I can shoot the material in front, which was impossible to do when shooting with a professional camera before.

The performance of the child in the film adds a lot to the burst of climax emotions. In fact, this is an amateur actor. Ordinary people often feel fear when facing the camera for the first time. It is not easy for the director to capture good emotions.

The common device of the mobile phone, on the contrary, dispels the fear of the amateur actor, allowing him to maintain a natural state in front of the camera. Director Zhang Zhongchen said that in one of the crying scenes in the dormitory, he chatted with the young actor before filming, and the child naturally began to cry because he was so homesick.

This is the biggest difference between mobile phone photography and camera photography. Zhang Zhongchen told us that whether it is the photographer or the children in front of the camera, when they are facing the camera lens, the whole state will be more natural.

Because mobile phone shooting is very light, I let the camera capture this scene at the time. If it is a camera, it is actually difficult to capture the real state, after all, there will be a sense of oppression.

"Fearless Travelers"

As I just mentioned, mobile phones are easier to build a sense of trust with the person being filmed, bringing a more realistic performance closer to a documentary. This media feature is even more apparent in "The Travelers Are Not Afraid", which reflects life in the post-epidemic era in Wuhan.

In the early morning, a swimming team composed of middle-aged and elderly people met to swim in the East Lake. After everyone jumped into the water, the "top leader" of the recovered patients was still hesitating whether to go into the water. The "top leader" finally took off the mask and jumped into the East Lake. The crowd shouted:

Swim, swam forward!

▲ Zhang Xiaosha, director of "The Travelers Are Not Afraid"

Director Zhang Xiaosha completed a sketch of a group of ordinary people with a mobile phone lens. He believes that the shooting experience this time is very "free".

We are like craftsmen who carve jade. When we find a piece of jade and realize that it is very suitable for carving with a small carving knife, the convenient device of a mobile phone is like this small carving knife. Maybe this time, We only need to process it properly to convey feelings and expressions to the audience

"Two Hundreds on the Spit Car"

"Two Hundreds on a Truck" can be said to be the most impressive work in this short film in terms of image form and visual creativity.

An online car-hailing car received a drunk man in the middle of the night. In order to prevent him from vomiting in the car, he completed a "fast and furious" adventure.

The blue decorative light strip in the online car-hailing car presents a blurred light and shadow style in the night, which well shows the state of the drunk and the inner anxiety of the driver.

The rich colors and the shaking lens remind me of the same emotional color language in "Chongqing Forest".

It's just that this time director Ikramu used a mobile phone to complete such shooting, with the help of vivo X80 Pro Zeiss Color 2.0 adjustment and self-developed chip V1+'s polar night noise reduction algorithm. In the night scene shooting scene without too many auxiliary light sources, it still presents clean and real picture colors, showing the wonderful light and shadow of late night .

And one of the most impressive shots in the film is the use of a drunkard's point of view to show Drift. The director said that this shot directly let the actor grab the mobile phone to "take a selfie" and toss it with the movement of the vehicle. It turned out that the effect of motion stabilization was unexpected.

I didn't think I might be able to use this lens, it turned out to be so, it did open up some inspiration and some angles for me on this.

In these ultra-short films, I see creators exploring video experiments through new media and tools. However, the essence of video narrative has not changed, and it is still necessary to let the audience feel the realistic tension and humanistic emotion of taking care of the present.

The public and social nature of image expression will not be limited by the duration

Short videos have become the most popular expression at the moment, but in the impression of many people, short videos are fast-food, superficial, and eye-catching.

What is the social and cultural significance of ultra-short films in today's Internet environment?

Without the sense of ritual in the offline field and the extremely compressed narrative time, whether the publicity and sociality of the image can still be maintained, the famous film scholar Dai Jinhua believes that the two films can continue to survive.

At the FIRST Youth Film Festival, I also tried to find answers through the exchanges of these creators.

The post-90s director Zhang Zhongchen won the best feature film and best director in the FIRST main competition unit last year with his debut film "The Last Farewell", and this year he participated in the creation of the ultra-short film unit.

After experiencing the creation of feature films and ultra-short films, Zhang Zhongchen has a new understanding of these two media. He told us that the content and emotion will not be limited by the length of time, " As long as it is a brave and real image, it is enough. It doesn't matter the form, it doesn't matter what you say. ".

Whether it is a professional director or an author who is exploring, the true expression will not be limited by portable equipment, and the time setting does not prevent the extension of creation. Even in the face of countless times of "impossible to achieve", the creation still grows in the picture.

The indie film "Orange," which was well-received at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, was shot entirely on mobile phones. Soderbergh, a well-known director who has been working on the big screen, also publicly stated in 2018: " I think that shooting movies on mobile phones is the future trend ."

▲ Picture from: "Orange"

This year's "Time Sickness", which won the honor of the jury in the ultra-short film unit, is a self-directed and self-directed performance by a non-professional college student, but it can make the audience feel the pain of her being crushed by time, and the video is full of human touch.

The director Zhou Baiyu said after winning the award, I was deeply impressed, "The image should not be a high-level existence. Whether it is a super short film or a large-scale feature film, as long as it is sincere, it can move people. "

No matter how the tools and media of creation change, the actual recording and observation of real emotions can always resonate.

The change of tools and forms brings creators a new audiovisual language. In the face of this generation of digital natives who grew up with the Internet, it may be more direct and effective to use this image language to express sociality and publicity.

Everyone who holds a mobile phone is the director of life

This year is the third year of the vivo x FIRST super short film competition unit.

However, in the ultra-short film unit, we see more and more enthusiastic creators joining the ranks of video creation. Even with non-professional equipment, they still insist on thinking and expressing about real life.

According to the organizer , 55.21% of the submitted works received by this ultra-short film unit were shot with mobile phones, and only 21% of the first session in 2020. The identity of creators is also more diverse and grassroots, among which post-00s accounted for 41.5% of the participants, forming the youngest video creation community.

Smartphones have lowered the threshold for image creation, and mobile phone manufacturers such as vivo are constantly narrowing the gap with professional equipment in terms of photographic performance, which is changing the ecology of image narratives.

Mobile phones are making the process of image creation easier and more enjoyable. Liu Yinwei, senior product manager of vivo imaging effects, said that vivo imaging technology has always adhered to the concept of people-oriented, not constantly stacking hardware for performance, but starting from the actual needs of creators .

▲Liu Yinwei, senior image effects product manager of vivo

Liu Yinwei told Ai Faner that vivo will adjust the direction of research and development through face-to-face interviews with creators to meet the different needs of entry-level to professional-level creators.
For example, the development of the V1+ chip to solve the performance of brightness and clarity in the low-light environment of night scenes is based on the feedback of the creators shooting at night. We also intuitively felt it in the night scenes of works such as "Lingding" and "Highway".
We hope that through the research and development of image technology, more people from different industries can experience the fun of image creation and more professional moving image quality, and use excellent moving images to convey the concept of humanistic joy.

A new generation of young creators has gradually discovered that five-minute ultra-short films are video media narratives that everyone can create .

Nowadays, video expression has become a habit of many ordinary people. As Zhang Xiaolong said, video expression should be a theme in the content field for the next decade, and the times are developing in the direction of video expression .

On platforms like vivo x FIRST ultra-short films, more ordinary people have the opportunity to express themselves and enjoy the fun of video creation. For creators who want to go further in video creation, they may collide with new forms and techniques in the creation of ultra-short films, and innovate traditional film and television narratives.

Over the past 100 years, movies have been constantly colliding and merging with various arts and media. Drama, literature, games, screens, TV, mobile phones, and now media such as ultra-short films will bring new possibilities.

An era of "everyone is an artist" is coming, a future envisioned by the famous German artist Josef Beuys.

"Everyone is an artist" does not mean that everyone is already an artist, but that everyone has the potential to be creative and to be an artist. If you can draw strength from the most familiar and most felt things around you, rethink and create, you can become an artist.

Vivo's mobile imaging ecosystem based on humanized professional imaging technology and the FIRST creator community is precisely to provide a society where "everyone is an artist" with tools at their fingertips, allowing everyone to have the freedom of image creation.

Just like Weibo has changed the way of public expression. The official account allows even the smallest individual to have its own brand. The vivo mobile imaging ecosystem enables everyone who holds a mobile phone to become a director of life.

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