Producing Participatory Media
Week 6 - March 4


  • Mobile Phone Image and Video Capture

  • Mobile Phone Image and Video Capture

    Mobile phones and camera phones have achieved ubiquity. Although the quality has a little ways to go, we can take advantage of the built-in network connectivity to utilize them as either a production tool or an audience interaction tool. SMS is a given, already being used in mass-media to allow small amounts of interactivity in shows like American Idol (voting). Picture mail or MMS is starting to hit the big time as well, at least on the internet. Following in its footsteps is video.

    Most video capabile phones capture video in a highly compressed offshoot of MPEG-4 called 3GP. Fortunately, most of the players that support MPEG-4 (QuickTime, Real and many others) also support 3GP so it is easy for us to integrate into what we are doing.

    Unfortunately, MMS messages are a step behind SMS. The connections between carriers are not completely established so phone to phone MMS messages are still difficult as is sending MMS messages from a computer or something that is not on the mobile phone network. The one portion of this, the part that is most useful to us in utlizing video from phones, delivery of MMS messages via email is pretty standard and easy to take advantage of.

    I built a application in Perl that reads email from a specific email account and automatically saves any attached image or video file such as those sent to my email box from my phone. Furthermore, this application automatically posts these video files to my blog in the style of video blog postings. Of course there is much more that can be done with these video files so think of the blog posting as an example.

    An Open Mobile Video Blog
    Local Report - Art Project Using Video from mobile phones
    The Script (includes instructions)

    More Information:
  • Apple - MPEG-4 - 3GPP
  • 3GPP - Standards Organization