I am delighted to publish this wonderful interview with Mobile Movie creator Dani Salvadori by Giulia Baita. In this interview Salvadori reveals her early influences which have supported and fueled her growth into this new medium. She also reveals her favourite genres, her techniques and motivations. Please do not miss this.
Can you tell us when you first started to experience mobile movies and what it meant to you?
I’ve always been interested in the moving image – I even did a diploma in film theory decades ago – but had never tried to make a mobile movie until about a year ago. After I made the first couple, which were just of what I saw around me, I realised that they could be very powerful little stories, especially if they included words and music as well.
You are a highly motivated mobile movie maker, what drives you?
I like the complexity of making a little movie. There are so many parts to think about: the images, the story and the music that holds it together. I really enjoy putting all the pieces together. And, perhaps surprisingly, I enjoy the finished products too.
Do you find yourself leaning towards any one particular genre of mobile movie, for example, street, music and what is the reason for this.
I’ve become interested in two aspects of mobile movies: video poetry and telling stories through abstract images. I like the minimalist and compact form of the haiku which is 3 lines with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second, and 5 on the third. I try to combine the words of a haiku with moving images and music which reflect in an abstracted way what I am trying to say. I like the fact that you can say quite a lot in a very condensed fashion, just like conventional poetry in fact. I’m not very interested in making conventional narrative films, although I have made one with my husband which was fun because he’s a very willing participant.
I try and put all my work on my Vimeo channel: vimeo.com/danisalvadori so you can see the range of what I do there. I recently had to make an Artist’s Statement for an exhibition I had a piece in and in making that realised that my theme is Tiny, Life, Stories. I like the phrase a lot as I think it says everything I’m trying to do.
We are seeing more and more professional directors utilizing the mobile phone to shoot short films, advertising campaigns and the like. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it is sort of interesting because it is bringing down the cost of film-making and making it more democratic which is always good, but really it’s just replacing one type of conventional technology with another which is cheaper. I’m more interested in making mobile movies which communicate well in a one to one way on a small screen. To me that’s a new form of communication which is much more exciting.
Your recent series of movies about the movement showed a great desire to experience and a great passion. What do you think you have found? What are the results of this work?
My month of movement project was a sort of sketchbook to see what was possible if I really pushed myself within one theme. I wasn’t trying to make finished movies. I learnt a lot about what was possible with the phone and improved my skills in using the shooter and editing apps. What with one thing and another it actually took me two months to complete though!
Please share your favourite mobile movie apps with us and the reasons for your selections.
There are far fewer decent movie apps than photography ones and many of them render at really low resolution so I’ve found you have to select apps with care.
For shooting I prefer to use Vee – it has good image stabilisation and is easy to use and you can easily review and delete bits of the same shoot without deleting or saving everything.
For editing I like Pinnacle Pro – it is by far the most accurate of the ones I’ve used, although it is not very intuitive. I’ve found I’ve needed to watch the tutorial videos, sometimes more than once. It also renders up to 4k which is great.
For effects my favourite app is LumaFX which is made by Avid who also make Pinnacle Pro. It’s got good effects and colour rendering in it. I also quite like Cinamatic (made by Hipstamatic) although it is low render and Fused is quite good for overlaying movies but it only renders 15 seconds at a time. I haven’t yet found a good app for collaging movies – most render at really low resolution.
Because I often work with abstract images I also like two of the Pixite apps: Fragment and Matter. You can import video into Fragment and make videos with Matter. Both are limited and you have to push them to get the best out of them but the results can be exciting.
Until recently I’ve been frustrated by the limited nature of what you can do with words in the various editing apps available. However I’ve just discovered Filmmaker Pro which has a lot of word possibilities. I’m not sure how good it is for anything else though.
The other source I also use is not an app but a website: the Free Music Archive. They have thousands and thousands of wonderful tracks on there with a clear licensing policy so you know you can use them. There’s an app but it’s not very good and actually I haven’t found a way of downloading and importing the tracks without using a proper computer but it’s a fantastic resource.
Is there additional hardware you use when shooting mobile movies, such as tripod, monopod, supports of some sort?
I have a tripod which is pretty essential for shooting more than a few seconds but I rarely have it with me! I don’t use anything else except my iPad. I don’t think I could edit on a phone very effectively.
Are you working on some mobile movie projects, can you share those with us?
I’m between projects at the moment but musing on what I might do next. My best work seems to be driven by my reaction to the pressures and setbacks of everyday life. Apart from too much travel for work the biggest thing that has happened recently is my mother’s incredible recovery from breaking her hip in April. I find her resilience awe inspiring and I’d like to work on something that reflects that.