My Dreams for Google Glass

I hear a lot of people talking about Google Glass and filmmaking. Most emphasize the HD POV camera utility that is immediately obvious. As a closet gearhead, these are the top four uses I’d like to see for Google Glass on film sets.

Monitors

You heard of monitor headphones? What about monitor ‘goggles’? Could you imagine the director and producer popping on a pair of Google Glass to check out  the performance as it plays out? What about cinematographers who don’t have to bend and cramp themselves into pretzels looking into a viewfinder to get certain shots. How about setting your Google Glass to, ‘pre-key’ and see your scene keyed while you’re on set without an expensive switchboard. This is already easy enough with the ‘expensive switchboard’ and said trained switchboard operator. Google Glass can not just let you know if your scene is properly lit and key able, but if you have previz or better still, your final CG elements, you can make sure everything composites well. Ex-nay on the SDI vs HDMI conversation, everything would be wifi!

Equipment Stats

What if you could see Audio waveforms through Google Glass? Light meters? Battery levels? This could save a ton of time and resources if you knew device readings on the fly, and didn’t have to constantly check device after device or risk ‘winging’ it. This threatens to make filmmaking much less guesswork and much more precise.

And anyone into green screening and CG? Motion tracking is a time consuming process that happens in post for the most part, but what if you could do it on set? Sometimes your VFX world and even your practical world needs to have specific pans or tilts at specific speeds to suit your narrative. And Google Glass could deliver this real time GPS info. Need to get a specific pan on the set? Need to get your sticks in the exact same location and height as you had it before? Real time GPS tracking for your camera and lens can make shot tracking pretty easy on set if you can still graph those parabolas you did in high school.

Equipment Location

Add RIF tags, and suddenly you can instantly locate anything on set that’s bigger than an RIF tag. Where’s that other box of stingers? Where did you put that 1K? If you’re short on crew, sometimes you don’t have department heads to delegate work, nor department specialists to accept the delegation. In a rough neighborhood or working with folks for the first time? Make sure you equipment doesn’t walk off set before you do. Filmmaking toys, er uh… tools are expensive.

Integration

The biggest thing I hope for in Google Glass is that it’s an ‘open enough’ platform that is at least app driven, and at best upgradeable. This last decade of technology has been exciting from a marketing standpoint, but absolutely nauseating from an owner’s perspective. What do you do when your iPad battery dies? Buy a new battery? Noooo.. Shell out another $400-$600 for a brand new one. Because of a dead battery. This is called engineered obsolescence. Between that and the Canon (and other noteworthy brands) persistence of ‘hobbling’ technology so that it doesn’t inadvertently compete with their existing product lines, the greatest hope for Google Glass is that hopefully it’ll be smarter than other industries, and actually do what the user needs it to do instead of gouging the user for every last dime. I know that’s the nature of business, but we’re just trying to make films here.

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