Content For Community: Inside OnePlus' feature film '2024'

Aishwarrya Chakraverty
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OnePlus 2024 making - OnePlus film

To popularize the camera capabilities of OnePlus 9 Pro, the brand created a full-length feature film which was released on Disney+Hotstar. We get in conversation with Ishita Grover from OnePlus, Rohin Raveendran Nair & Vikramaditya Motwane Production House - understanding the creative, production, and branding aspects of creating long-form content for big screens through a smartphone.

Shot on phone - has been one of the most common marketing gimmicks among smartphone brands to display the proficiency of cameras, lenses, and other complimenting features. Remember the #ShotOniPhone billboards - pictures taken on iPhone occupied hoardings on all vantage points of the city.

OnePlus harped on this trend, shooting a feature film- ‘2024’ by shooting on the OnePlus 9 Pro. The movie is created in partnership with Vikramaditya Motwane’s Andolan Production, Big Bad Wolf Studios, and the Odd and Even Productions. The 60-minute action-thriller was released on Disney+Hotstar in November. We speak with the brand, the production house, and the director, understanding the nuances of creating a feature film solely to highlight phone capabilities.

In conversation with Social Samosa, , Vikramaditya Motwane’s Production House, and Rohin Raveendran Nair, Director of the film take us through the content marketing initiative of the brand while bringing a smartphone revolution in India with the feature film.

#ShotOnOnePlus: Content To Drive Community

In the past, OnePlus had created the ‘United by Hope’ documentary as part of the ‘Shot on One Plus’ (SOOP) initiative. As the audience lapped up these creative endeavors/pursuits, the brand decided to take this a step further with ‘2024’ as a full-length film.

Set in a dystopian background with a mutating virus, Ishita Grover, Head - Marketing Communications & Planning, OnePlus explains how the smartphone brand leveraged the prowess of the OnePlus 9 series for the fast-paced storyline of 2024. “We created the Shot on OnePlus platform to continuously encourage our community to share their amazing work.” The brand hopes to empower this community to explore their creative pursuits.

The idea behind the project was to highlight the camera capabilities of the OnePlus 9 Pro, in creating for the user community a compelling storyline, that showcases the collective strength in the adversities we have together faced. 

OnePlus further focuses on the community's needs and experience while keeping in mind the innovations and best tech experience. Grover says, “Our true goal with the project is that we hope this serves as an inspiration for our community and all the budding filmmakers to push their own creative boundaries with the help of their OnePlus devices.”

The action-thriller tells a fictional story set in the year 2024. The story is about four youngsters who grew up together in an orphanage in Dharavi (Mumbai) and their struggle to survive in a dystopian environment resulting from a mutating virus. The idea stems from a generation that uses their smartphones extensively. Leveraging this, the film displays how the characters use their smartphones – from connecting with each other through video calls or to staying updated during a crisis in the city. 

As the story involved marrying the technology usage of today with a crisis in the future, OnePlus came in to shoot the feature film on their flagship device. Vikramaditya Motwane’s production house shares, “We believed that this story married itself quite well with OnePlus’ vision. Similar to OnePlus’ Never Settle approach, I too have chosen an experimental approach to my work, in the pursuit of pushing creative boundaries.”

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Challenges – Shooting A Feature Film On Smartphone

Rohin Raveendran Nair, Director of the film, explains that while it was both challenging and opportunistic to shoot the film on a smartphone, the brand team had driven and witnessed smartphone advancements year-on-year, which made the makers confident of being able to shoot professional-level videos and bring a captivating storyline to life for the audience.

Nair shares that the features such as advanced Nightscape Video 2.0, DOL-HDR, and the ultra-wide camera also allowed the production team to experiment with several perspectives in shooting captivating contrasts and exciting sequences. 

One of the major challenges for the shootings is setting up the lights and producing impactful sequences, The cameras did a great job of producing beautiful frames in every lighting condition and played an important role in preserving the essence and character of the story.

Keeping authenticity at the core of the making of 2024, Grover points that shooting long-format content on smartphones might be relatively new in the Indian film industry, but it is slowly gaining interest, feasibility and being adopted by more and more individuals in the industry.

Grover shares the brand teamed up with camera manufacturer, Hasselblad, to bring the enhanced technology for the feature film. While the shooting of the movie required free-flowing camera movements with gimbals, no additional hardware was required to execute the film and the entire shooting rested on OnePlus 9 Pro, alone.

Content Production: Evolution & Trends

Increasing smartphone capabilities, combined with the no-cost entry and sustenance model of social media has democratized content creation in the last few years. Grover says, “In the past, we saw the smartphone cameras were specifically utilized for shooting shaky handheld sequences or introducing a new scene in the shoot. In the 2010s, with advancements in mobile camera technology, we eventually saw it being adopted for shooting full-length films across the world.”

Grover concedes that from being a fun experiment, smartphone films are forming a new age of cinema, and attracting varying professionals to take on the challenge of creating an amazing film.

Pointing towards the brighter hues in the area of content creation, Nair opines, “This is an excellent time for young filmmakers to make a move and get started, as technology today allows for high-quality output at a low cost.”

As the way forward, since the pandemic has further incentivized this trend, the brand predicts a surge in the demand for more diverse film-making techniques with the boom in feature films through smartphones.

Grover hopes that the users will be inspired to whole-heartedly take up creative ambitions, and enjoy experimenting while pushing the envelope to scale newer heights in the industry.

Article by Sneha Yadav and Aishwarrya Chakraverty

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