Blog Post

lo fi student centered filmmaking

I had a problem.  4 small groups ready to shoot.  3 video cameras.  And ONE of the groups with a camera just couldn't seem to get started. IE lots of giggling, good posture and serious faces as I walked past, then back to giggling.  After 10 min of this, and watching another group waiting patiently for a camera, I swooped in on the gigglers and said, "I think you guys need some more rehearsal time," and promptly delivered the camera to the other group.  They started shooting immediately. But so did the other group!

They were upset they lost their chance to film, so one girl in the group used her phone to record the Tabletop movies.  I thought that was the perfect demonstration of an instant lo fi solution.  They shot an entire 4 scene movie (still with quite a bit of giggling during review of the takes) in 20 minutes. On other occasions this same student would use different ring tones for sound FX in her movies.  She would simply cue up the sound and then hold the speaker of her phone near the microphone of the camera.  In the five years I have been delivering these workshops with young people all over the world, this lo tech solution shows up again and again (this technique is demonstrated very clearly 45 seconds into the embedded video.) 

Her solution to losing the camera was fantastic.  I am now left with figuring out how to grab her video files off of her phone.  Her situation is pretty common.  Video is stored on the internal memory and she has no cables or chords to transfer.  She can send them wirelessly, but carriers that charge by the MB will make that potentially very expensive.

I love that she used her phone, and I want to use her movie, but I have yet to find an elegant transfer solution from her phone to my computer (where it will then need to be converted into another format for editing, exporting and viewing)

More Information on Tabletop Moviemaking can be found at


1 comment

Anonymous (not verified)

This is an inspiring post. That student showed her resourcefulness. i would love to watch her lo fi movie. She's as brilliant and sharp as a Sphynx Cat . Thanks for this very interesting post.