Film in the Era of Google Glass


Ubiquitous technologies have already enabled us to capture events that were never possible before. Not too long ago, one could only see photographs and movies about the aftermath of meteorites, plane crashes, explosions, revolutions, and the like. Camera-equipped smartphone have made it possible to capture catastrophic events in real time, enabling us to record history as it is happening.

When Google Glass becomes widely used, I expect this phenomena to proliferate. Constant surveillance would be a casual thing. This faction of humanity will become living cameras with names and social security numbers. They will fight to be the first to witness and upload some object of history, to proudly regard themselves as part of the great peripheral system in the embodied internet.

Granted, a great deal of this is happening now. Google Glass, however, seems to be a purer expression of a new trend of consumer cybernetics. The next step after pushing augmented reality from nuance to normalcy, in my opinion, will be incorporating biofeedback as a causal control system.

What peeks my interest the most about this emerging technology is the potential for revolutionizing art and film. Augmented reality glasses, such as Google Glass, will usher in a new era of experimental, independent film.

What if, for instance, a film had no pre-written script, director, or editor? Instead, just costumes, props, a setting, and highly skilled long-form improvisors, each equipped with Google Glasses. They could reenact scenes from history or fantasy in whatever genre of their choosing. Protagonists would not even be chosen ahead of time: Actors would be told that there are no lead and non-lead roles; every character is as important as you make them. Acting troupes would be valued for their ability to imagine and implement stories as a team.

Director/editors would be granted permission to access the vast amount of raw footage generated by each actor, no matter how important or significant they ended up being. The artfulness of the movie would not only come from the brilliance of the actors, but also from the director/editors ability to choose the organic narratives generated from the days of filming. Key to this technique would be the art of selection.

A single film could produce enough data that teams of editor/directors could create multiple films, each telling a separate narrative that relates yet is independent of the others. For instance, a team of college students could produce an independent, "open-source" film contest, where they supply the footage of actors performing, lets say, a murder-mystery. The job of competing editors would be to put the film together in the most artful way.

This sort of application of Google Glass, to me, would combine data science and art. There would be so much film that humans might have to work along algorithms to find the salient aspects of a story across multiple cameras. The story would have to be pieced together by software-engineer artists, experts in data compression and design, neural nets and narrative.