Viewfinder: At Last, Video Viewing Anytime, Anywhere

Many of us take great joy in the creative process of writing, lighting, shooting and editing. The majority of content creators spend proportionately little time thinking about how our final piece of work will be displayed and delivered to a viewer or group of viewers and in what setting.

One of the great frustrations of pre-Internet video production was the lack of opportunity to broadcast one’s work beyond the physical delivery of replicated VHS tapes, and soon thereafter DVDs, to the localized players and monitors to which they were tethered; typically for very small audiences of people already within the scope of influence of the producer. The Web blew the doors off the world of video distribution, allowing anyone to produce and post a video that was instantly accessible to everyone with Internet access. At the beginning, however, Web video was still restricted by a tether; this time to a computer display, and was not a practical way for more than one or two viewers to watch a few minutes of media together.

projector in the LCD monitor of a camera

This category of battery powered, pocket-sized, laser- or LED-lit mini projectors may well represent the next new frontier in the democratization and enrichment of television distribution (and may be found in cameras too)…

Relatively recent advances in mobile technology finally cut the cord, allowing persons with Web-enabled smartphones and tablets to stream video to their devices anywhere they have Wi-Fi. This was a revolutionary leap forward technologically speaking. While the physical limitation of a tether has been removed, mobile consumption of video is primarily an individual activity. Group viewing is limited to the number of people who can crowd around hand-held screens ranging in size from that of a playing card to a text book. Big-screen video viewing still requires access to a large display plugged into a wall one way or another. Until now.

Enter the hand-held pico projector. This category of battery powered, pocket-sized, laser- or LED-lit mini projectors may well represent the next new frontier in the democratization and enrichment of television distribution that further liberates media from the tethers of traditional television. With one, any flat surface can become a large-scale screen of about 50” that permits comfortable viewing of media by multiple people in just about any environment. Kids can watch movies on the wall of a tent in rural Pennsylvania, or trainers can project life-saving instructional health videos on the wall of a hut in outlying areas of Ethiopia.

Standalone HD resolution pico projectors from ASUS, AAXA and Cellulon are available and in use today, but I predict that this is just the beginning. The inner workings of these devices are already being integrated into experimental smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Beam. Before long we may all have projection as a standard phone feature; a development that would at last allow untethered video viewing of the videos you produce anytime, anywhere.

Matthew York is Videomaker's Publisher/Editor.

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