Home >Technology >Gadgets >Smartphones, tablets can make good music, films, art

If the photo above caught your attention, look again. It was clicked and edited on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The artwork is part of Samar Khan’s portfolio, who is better known by his Instagram handle @metrodoodle. Khan has over 30,000 followers on Instagram and now uses the Apple iPad Pro for all of his work. In fact, Khan says that though he has a desktop PC at home, he rarely uses it.

Metrodoodle is not the only creator in India, or even worldwide, to use mobile devices like the iPad for their work. Pranita Kocharekar, an illustrator with over 36,000 followers on Instagram says almost all of her friends who are illustrators carry an iPad Pro with them.

Khan and Kocharekar say the convenience of being able to carry the device anywhere with them, combined with the Apple Pencil’s ability to allow low latency when drawing on a screen, helps them work on the go.

Varun Khullar (a.k.a. DJ Aamish) does all his music production work on a Microsoft Surface Book 2. According to him, the laptop’s ability to transform into a tablet while retaining all its processing power gives him the freedom to create music on the go.

In fact, composer Qaran made the song Tareefan from the movie Veere Di Wedding on an iPad, while on a flight from Mumbai to Delhi.

Not just that, Khullar also uses a Google Pixel 3 to record music he hears. He says while the phone doesn’t necessarily let him use that music, it’s still helpful since he can go back to his Surface Book 2 and use the recording as a reference.

What’s helping these creators is that companies like LG, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple and Google have specifically-highlighted features in their devices that cater to such needs. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S10 has specific camera features that are meant for creators. Similarly, LG’s V series devices have often been marketed as phones that are suited for those who earn a living by making YouTube videos.

Rohit Gupta , who is one of the founders of The Creative Indians, has shot the entire fourth season of their show using the iPhone XS Max. “We started our experiments with the iPhone 8 and then X and eventually XS Max. We have done a run-through from the iPhone 7 to the XS Max," he says, adding that when they shoot, they don’t look at the phone as a replacement for the camera but “try to shoot within the pros of the phone’s camera". According to him, while phones may not allow the versatility that traditional cameras do, they allow the creator to introduce a different “language", which he prefers.

To be sure, creators agree that it’s important to understand the limitations of mobile devices. For instance, Gupta says the smaller camera sensors on phones means you have to be more thorough with your lighting and “throw that much more light on the sensor". Also, phone cameras do not provide the depth that a full-fledged camera gives.

Similarly, Khan says that while his iPad works fine for his Instagram posts, he has had to move to the PC when designing billboards or other larger resolution images. “This task is something that will require proper professional software and tools. The iPad has a limitation of the canvas," said Khan.

There are also limitations when it comes to video editing. While Khan often edits short videos using various apps, The Creative Indians’ Gupta says shooting with iPhones increases the amount of footage they return with, and as a result they have to turn to traditional desktop software like Final Cut Pro etc for editing.

The fact, though, is that while most consumer devices that can be used for such work are quite expensive, they are still cheaper than their full-fledged equipment counterparts. For instance, while an iPhone can cost well over 1 lakh but a movie camera by RED can cost significantly more.

Finally, it comes down to the kind of work you’re doing. Irvin Khurana, another DJ, said many of his brethren in the electronic music industry create music completely through their devices because buying other equipment (which Khurana has) can be really expensive. “You have to pay 40% duty on the analogue equipment that I buy from abroad," he said.

At the moment, mobile devices do have their limitations but the pros outweigh the cons for most creators. They offer them a way to continue doing their work with smaller investments and many creators believe that in the long run, they could literally do all their work on such devices.

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