For a while, technology was the barrier to entry. Cameras were expensive, playback machines were expensive – editing could cost hundreds of dollars an hour. (I know, I co-owned a post-production company for 20 years.) Now production tools are showing up just about everywhere.
Nokia’s $660 dollar N93 “multimedia computer” is a case in point. You might be tempted to call it a phone. It’s a lot more than that. A high quality 3.2 megapixel still camera – designed with easy posting to Flickr. A sophisticated standard definition video camera (640 x 480)- with much better than VHS quality. It comes bundled with a lite version of Adobe Premiere – so you can edit the movies you shoot. It’s an iPod competitor – with recording and playback from SD cards – up to 2GB. An email device. Oh, you can also use it to phone people.
The “multimedia computer” will be a lot less money on extended cell plans – but at it’s list price, it’s still a very impressive device. Think of the impact that much poorer quality cell cameras had on the reporting of last summer’s London Bombings. Then imagine someone pulling out this “multimedia computer” and recording the events. Grabbing immediate interviews. And uploading the results…from the phone.
But this camera is only a way point on the road we are on to ubiquitous creation tools in the hands of almost everyone. This camera is standard definition. Within 18 months, expect a high definition version. (Check out Sanyo and Samsung’s new Flash Memory based HD cameras – as an example of where things are going.) Within three years, expect simple on-board editing tools that will let you sequence your HD content and post it from the phone as a story – or stream the story live. And your nine year old will be doing it.