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BBC: Your phone is now a refugee's phone

Posted July 21, 2016
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If you had to flee your country, what’s the one piece of technology you would take with you?

This striking film, designed to watch on a mobile phone, helps the viewer to experience with immediacy the confusion and fear facing refugees making a perilous journey by boat. Your phone is now a refugee’s phone. Text messages arrive from your family. Suddenly someone contacts you on WhatsApp warning you to turn back. But are they right? Your lifeline is a phone with no signal that’s rapidly running out of battery.

The BBC has released this video showing you what it is like for a refugee traveling to Europe.  This is another example of innovative ways to use vertical video on the web.  One of the things that video 'professionals' lamented with the ushering in of smartphone video (and I'll admit my guilt of this as well) was the proliferation of videos shot in the vertical or portrait orientation.

However, because of the orientation of the screens of many smartphones, vertical video became widely popular -- particularly in the viral video arena.  Only recently have news organizations, like The BBC and The Washington Post, experimented with vertical video and have found innovative and engaging results.  This just shows you that when new technologies arise, we must not immediately use them in ways that we have used old technology, but rather evaluate how the new technology can change the way we do things -- be it in video or any other endevour.

By no means does this signify a turning point for video nor does it mean that in short time everything we watch will be in vertical, but rather that there are now many more possibilities to tell innovative and engaging stories in interesting ways. 

 


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