In filmmaking, the camera doesn’t matter. It should be the last thing a filmmaker should be concerned about. The story is more important, as well as the casting, and direction. However, it’s a different story if you are trying to promote a camera. While all the other aspects are still as important, the camera quality should always be on top of everything. After all, you are aiming for the sales.
Nokia is known for making elaborate campaigns to promote the cameras on its phones. In 2010, the brand launched a “Nokia N8 Presents” campaign, a short film contest, promoting the video capability of the Nokia N8. The campaign, I would say, was successful. Not successful enough to save the brand, but successful enough to sell the device.
Here is one of my favorite entries, The Commuter, starring the talented actor Dev Patel, co-starring Ed Westwick, Charles Dance, and Pamela Anderson. Directed by the McHenry Brothers.
The video capability of the Nokia N8 isn’t something we can call “amazing” these days. It maxes out at 720p HD, and the dynamic range is far limited. It was, however, the best video quality you can get from a smartphone in 2010, and Nokia succeeded in showcasing that capability.
Now that I have reiterated my point, let’s go and review Nokia Mobile’s latest short film for its “48 Hours of Change” campaign.
48 Hours of Change – Nigeria
The 48 Hours of Change is a video series produced by Nokia Mobile. They asked some users from all around the world to “capture” a change within 48 hours. Why is it 48 hours? We don’t know. Except that we know that the short films are compressed to 3 or 4 minutes and were shot on Nokia 5.3, Nokia 5.4, and Nokia 8.3 5G. And, they don’t last 48 hours,
Obviously, only the Nokia 5.4 has a 48MP sensor (a number we can tie up with the number of hours). So we assume that this campaign is actually made to promote the Nokia 5.4 but the company decided to expand it to other Nokia devices.
The first short film in the series was set in Lagos, Nigeria. The film opens up with a man named Ibidunni Damilola as he discusses what he wants to capture in Lagos within 48 hours. His goal is to reach out to local business owners in his area and teach them how to utilize the cameras for their smartphones to “help these businesses grow financially”, and “reach a wider audience”. The story isn’t something new, but it has a little more realistic possible outcome.
So we follow Ibidunni Damilola to the local market as he interacts with business owners, and teach them a thing or two on how to capture “good” photos and videos on their smartphones. No, the business owners weren’t given a Nokia smartphone, but Ibidunni Damilola was able to set their businesses up on social media. However, this became the major concern of the storyline.
All throughout the video, you don’t see the business owners using their own smartphones. The on-the-spot lesson is done through Ibidunni Damilola’s Nokia smartphone. Yeah, probably, they are using another brand. But what if these business owners actually don’t have a smartphone? Or, let’s say, even a good enough one to utilize what they have just learned from Ibidunni Damilola? Then all these efforts aren’t going to make an impact on their businesses.
Furthermore, the story ended without showing the change it has captured within 48 hours.
There was no mention of what Nokia phone was used to shoot this short film. Although we can see Ibidunni using a Nokia 5.3 all throughout the video. Setting proper expectations, the next few sentences will not be a delightful read.
I chagrined the moment I played the video.
To be fair, Ibidunni Damilola is a person of a lovable character. He is quite charming and entertaining to watch. But the lackluster video quality bestrewed with unnecessarily huge subtitles and captioning took this personality away. The blurred corners, usually used to entail a dreamy sequence, is superfluous at its best.
The overly warm white balance, which both affected the colors and skin tones, looks horrible on my TV that I have to turn off the FILMMAKER MODE. The dynamic range is just as awful. The highlights are overexposed, and autofocus is constantly looking for a subject. At timestamp 1:08, you can also see a flicker which may have been an issue brought by an incorrect frequency. The worst of all? Everything was shaky.
On a good note though, the audio quality is decent.
If Nokia Mobile really wants to push this kind of campaign forward, they need to drastically improve their product first. A campaign that never proved anything is just as useless as building an ark in the desert. I still don’t get the sense of trying to achieve a change within 48 hours.
Yes, we are in a hurry for a change. The world needs a change. But even a simple heartbreak can last us years and years. Change is constant, but it definitely never happens overnight. Maybe Nokia is ready for a new awakening, and is trying to say that Nokia phones doesn’t need to be the focus of our lives but accept it as a tool that will help you build a better self.