News: We Went to the Google Glass Film Festival—Don't Expect Glass-Made Movies Anytime Soon

We Went to the Google Glass Film Festival—Don't Expect Glass-Made Movies Anytime Soon

It was a chilly but otherwise beautiful night at YouTube Spaces LA—food trucks, ping pong, a photo booth, and the chance to view film school projects created completely with Glass.

About a year ago, the Glass Creative Partnership was formed to explore how Glass could be used in filmmaking, with partnerships spanning from the American Film Institute to CalArts and UCLA. On July 16, 2014, the products of that partnership were screened under the Southern California night sky.

Three films were showcased from USC, UCLA, and NYU—all entirely filmed with Glass. Check out the USC short by Aneesh Chaganty's below, called SEEDS.

Full disclosure: I'm a tech nerd, not a film critic. To speak on the quality of the shorts would be an insult to the filmmakers. I thought the films were creative and unique, and even touching at times, but one thing I can say after attending the event and watching the movies—Glass is not the future of film.

It would be hard to argue that, aside from mobility and providing a unique POV-type perspective, there isn't much of a case for Glass in film. In essence, you could get better quality from any modern-day smartphone, and even better quality from a GoPro.

Glass's Unknown Utility

Glass has applications that make sense. UC Irvine's medical department is piloting a program with Glass, and doctors around the world have already incorporated it ito their departments. The ability to translate foreign text on the fly could prove invaluable when traveling. But outside of a few other applications, the utility of this gadget remains a question mark.

Many of the event's attendees had never worn Glass. After taking a spin with them, quite a few people mentioned that they just didn't "get it." Reps from Swingbyte showcased their golf swing analysis tool—a bluetooth-connected device that attaches to a golf club to provide real-time feedback on your swing. But even they admitted their gadget was more for learning how to golf—if golf can ever really be "learned"—rather than taking out to the course.

Is Glass a Bust?

Currently, for the majority of the public, the answer is clearly yes. But, Google knows this. It's the reason they priced out the general public—this thing just isn't ready. Even with designer frames, you're not hiding the fact that you're wearing a computer on your face.

What's needed is innovation on the product so that it can do more than a smartphone connected to a bluetooth earpiece or a smartwatch. And it's that last point that may be a dagger—Android Wear on watches will be able to do just about everything that Glass does, but in a non-intrusive, not-so-nerdy way.

Smartwatches won't get you beat up in bars out of people's fears of being filmed. Smartwatches won't need to be charged multiple times a day for continued use. Smartwatches will feel natural—it's a watch, so you're not going to get strange, puzzled looks when you check your notifications. Not only that, but you'll be able to see and interact with them without constantly adjusting a prism or making swiping gestures on the side of your face.

As far as ingenuity goes, Glass is a showcase for what Google—and tech in general—is capable of. But in terms of use and utility, it may be safe to file Glass under the "not yet ready" category.

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