watch out, anderson cooper


you knew this was coming, the desktop publishing post before wasn’t there just out of the blue. i started thinking about all the people publishing crappy newsletters after the democratization of traditional publishing because i think we are on the verge of video being democratized. there are already 20 or more sites out there for hosting video. camcorders and editing software is cheap (if not free with a new computer). all you need is time and an internet connection.

but here’s what i think will cement this shift. yesterday nokia announced a new imaging-focused phone that can take 3 megapixel still pictures or full standard definition (640×480, 30 FPS) video. video is recorded in a very compact mpeg4 format to a miniSD card. the phone is actually smaller than today’s other flash-based video recorders, even though it has the same capabilities as well as being a full-on smartphone.

but video alone isn’t what makes the N93 the start of the video revolution. it’s the fact that the N93 can transmit data (like video files) over almost every popular wrieless standard: GSM, UMTS, Bluetooth, and WiFi. This means that no matter where you are, can upload video immediate after you shoot it. even if you’re in a place where the government has cut off cellular service (like in nepal) if you can get to a wifi access point you can send off your video without a computer or any other equipment.

the N93 is basically a one-person mobile tv studio in a smaller package than most of today’s compact digital cameras. it is 2/3rds of the equation (SD video + lots of wireless data options). a day later, the last third of the equation was announced. though it’s not from nokia, or even for nokia phones, it’s an excellent indication of how the N93 and other phones like it could be used. ComVu and Modeo will offer software for Windows Mobile smartphones that allows users to broadcast video as it happens to Modeo’s network, which will broadcast video over DVB-H to other mobile phones. Although the camera or video quality of windows mobile handsets can’t match the N93, it doesn’t really matter. what matters is that this software instantly turns people into on the spot, happening live at this moment, journalists.

it would not be difficult to adapt this software for nokia’s smartphones, if it is even necessary. maybe the video just needs to get out in a timely fashion, not instantaneously. either way, i believe this is the future. for the nay-sayers who think that the n93 and wireless data cost too much, i will point out the nokia also introduced the VGA camera into cell phones in the same high end line of this just over 5 years ago, and now that same camera is in the phones that carriers give away. it is not unrealistic to believe that cameras with the same capabilities as the n93 will be available in much less expensive phones in 5 years. it also seems reasonable to believe that the cost of data transmission will decrease significantly as well, although the N93 has wi-fi, which is already available for free in many places.

to get back to my original point, with the democratization of broadcast video, there will certainly be a ton of crap out there. but just as certain zines, websites or blogs have emerged as leaders and the newsletters about people’s cats have gone the way of the dodo, i believe that on the spot video journalist stars will emerge. total nueromancer-style stuff here.


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