Devices Google Glass News, — July 19, 2013 12:37 — 0 Comments
Google Glass: from a filmmaker’s point-of-view
Google’s much-anticipated wearable device could be an asset for filmmakers, but privacy and pornography issues remain a concern
How will Google Glass change filmmaking has been a hot topic recently with specially convened talks at this year’s TED and SXSW, articles in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and blogposts on the Tribeca Film Festival website.
The obvious use for Google Glass, which is in beta-test at time of writing this article, is point-of-view (POV) filmmaking.
As Rolling Stone reports: “A study by research firm IHS suggests that as many as 10 million smart-glasses (whether they’re made by Google or a rival riding Google’s coattails) may be sold by 2016. A world where everyone on the street is instantly uploading to YouTube whatever they’re looking at will be a world where everyone is both continuously filming and being filmed, where everyone is both voyeur and object.”
Film scholar S.T. VanAirsdale, writing for Future of Film on the Tribeca Film Festival website, says: “People watch movies for experience – the experience of the visuals, the story, the characters and everything else on screen. In framing these experiences within another, controlled experience, Glass will essentially make its own movies in ways that the competition so quaintly leaves up to the user.
“Even if Google’s advertised utopia of Maps-driven ski runs and Image-guided ice sculptures doesn’t shake out as something people actually want, that doesn’t mean the technology won’t – or shouldn’t – capture some other, more practical Google-driven experience,” he says.
For the time being, the porn industry is adopting a wait and see policy – even though Google Glass would make POV filmmaking a lot easier in this particular genre.
“Sex is technology’s primary driver,” writes Michael Moran in the Guardian. “Even when the pornographers don’t innovate they’re early adopters.”
Porn and filmmaking have been in bed with one another since the invention of the first moving pictures and Peter Acworth, CEO of adult website Kink.com, is certainly taking an interest in Google Glass, as he tells the Silicon Valley Business Journal. “You could film picking up someone at a bar and taking them home, for example.
“It takes the whole genre of POV and reality productions one stage further. You’ll hopefully get something very authentic,” he says.
One tiny problem for the pornographers is that Google is attempting to ban content “that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material,” which is already being challenged by the sex industry says Moran.
Away from porn for a moment, documentary filmmakers are taking a long hard look at Google’s revolutionary device.
“I feel like once filmmakers start making movies with Google Glass, there’s no end,” said documentary director Henry-Alex Rubin. ”It’s going to revolutionise documentary filmmaking – no question.”
Rubin, whose credits include the documentary Murderball and the feature film Disconnect, writes on his blog: “Because the hardest thing to capture in a documentary are those embarrassing intimate emotional moments between people. Those are dangerous moments. Those are usually moments that you want to put the camera down when someone’s crying or someone’s hurt. You don’t film anymore. It just feels inappropriate, even though, in movies, those end up being some of the most incredible things to watch,” he says,
“The unique POV is what sells this stuff, and its users’ technical talent and narrative skill is what will ultimately reinforce Glass’s staying power as a creative tool,” says VanAirsdale.
In his article he references two music videos from hardcore Russian rock band Biting Elbows as examples of first person video making that we are likely to see more of after the release of Google Glass. Check out Biting Elbows’ Bad Motherfucker and The Stampede videos.
As VanAirsdale correctly states, the future of filmmaking with Google Glass will be a high-concept, low-budget visual style as seen on award-winning music video for Cinnamon Chasers’ song “Luv Deluxe,” which was shot on a digital camera.
A year ago we were calling it augmented reality video, which is still part of the experience as content viewed through Google Glass can be overlaid by a related computer display – a map of a route when you’re walking somewhere unfamiliar, a review of a restaurant if you fancy going out for dinner, or the avatar of the person talking to you via the device’s phone app.
There is also another angle to Google Glass, primarily to do with privacy concerns and how the company plans to address obtaining consent from non-users who might have their information collected by the device.
Earlier this month filmmaker Chris Barrett became the first person to capture a street fight and arrest on Google Glass, which drew attention to how the device “will change citizen journalism forever” and consequently the arguments surrounding privacy issues.
“I think 99% of the people at the Jersey Shore did not know what I was wearing,” Barrett told Ars. “I got a lot of stares.”
“When you hit record, you don’t know what you’re going to catch in the next 24 frames or five minutes, he said.
“What is interesting from this video – and what made me want to upload it – was that I was filming before this event even happened. It would have been a little different if I saw the fight, hit record, and ran right up to the fight. We’re living a life where exciting and crazy and happy and sad things happen every minute.”
So far, Barrett’s video has been watched more than 230,000 times on YouTube, proving there is a market for POV filmmaking – what type of market no one can yet predict as even with all the technological wizardry incorporated into Google Glass the device, as yet, is unable to see into the future.