Tons of people are using mobile video. Watching video on a cell phone is becoming quite common. Lots of cell phones take video too, so perhaps a cell phone is all you need anymore to enjoy watching and producing TV, movies and online video.
Of course I am not saying that 52 inch plasma TV in your living isn't a necessity in today's world, but cell phone video-on-the-go is now is skyrocketing and will no doubt continue to do so. Pyramid Research just released a report predicting an annual compound growth rate for mobile video of 28% over the next five years. That means that by 2014, more than 500 million users worldwide will subscribe to one of the growing numbers of mobile TV services.
Since no doubt you want to get in on all that fun, here's the technical information you'll need on mobile video file formats. Don't worry, it's really easy.
With mobile video, tiny is the name of the game. If you are making a video destined for the cell phone screen, keep this in mind during the entire production process since tiny details and small fonts will get lost on a cell phone screen.
On a technical level, you also have to think small. The primary characteristic of a good cell phone video format is size. There are only a handful of common formats used for mobile video. They're all highly compressed in order to create that needed tiny file size.
- Flash Lite
3GPP is the single most common mobile format. It was developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, hence the name 3GPP. It's a globally standardized communication system so is common worldwide. Cell phone networks are often referred to as 3G networks. All cell phones that play video will play 3GPP.
For making video from a cell phone, 3GPP is the format your phone will be saved in by default. Most medium to high level video editing systems will convert and export 3GPP files. Of course as with any video conversion need, there are many format conversion programs and plug-ins on the market available as freeware and shareware.
Flash Lite is a streamlined version of Flash that was developed specifically for mobile phones and portable devices. You probably already know that the full version of Flash is the single most common online video file format. Flash Lite is highly compatible with Flash players which makes it fairly universal.
Always versatile, MPEG-4 (named after developers Motion Picture Experts Group) is a good sharing format for mobile video. It is also commonly used for online video in general but is one of the smaller formats so it works well for mobile video too. Virtually any mobile video device will play an MPEG-4 video.
Other technical terms you'll run into using mobile video include RTSP and its cousin, RTP. RTSP stands for Real Time Streaming Protocol. RTSP is used to establish and control streaming media sessions. RTSP is used in combination with RTP, which stands for Real Time Transport Protocol. RTSP handles the stopping and starting and RTP takes care of the actual transmission of the stream. If you use any kind of mobile distribution service, they will handle this aspect of it so it is not necessary to know much about it.
With cell phone video, you can shoot it live and distribute it with a video sharing service such as Qik. Qik seems to be one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly mobile video platforms online but there are many to choose from and more being developed every day.
Cell phone mobile video is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family or to entertain yourself away from home.