Google is sharing some of its coveted Google Glass eyewear-mounted computers with several film schools around the United States to see how they might inspire young filmmakers to use them.
Plans for the loans of the devices through the Glass Creative Collective, which is a Google partnership with film and design schools, were unveiled in a July 30 post by the Glass team on the project's Google+ page.
"We're really interested to find out how Glass will contribute to the craft of storytelling, specifically through film," states the post. "So, we reached out to various film schools, including The American Film Institute, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and the University of Southern California (USC). They'll start exploring how Glass can be used in production, documentary filmmaking, character development and things we haven't yet considered."
Scott Fisher, the dean of research at USC's Cinematic Arts department, told eWEEK that three or four students there will be working with the devices along with faculty members through the fall semester.
"We're actually the first to get the Glass units," said Fisher. "We have three of them for about a month. We've been doing a lot of work in virtual reality, augmented reality, such as superimposing computer graphics and other things onto everyday surroundings," so the Glass devices will add more to the work of students.
"We'd been following the development of Glass and had proposed some ideas to people we knew at Google, telling them 'wouldn't it be great if we could try out some entertainment aspects of Glass?'" Google responded and told school officials that the timing for such discussions was good and asked for more ideas about what students might do with the units.
One film genre for which Glass is being eyed is the documentary, said Fisher. "One of our research groups looks at new ideas in documentaries, such as where the footage is embedded wirelessly in a building" and is location-specific, such as capturing a wall being built in a structure—from the worker's point of view.
In the past, students even built a construction hard hat featuring portable stereo cameras mounted on top to capture just what the construction worker was seeing, he said. "That's what we had been doing. It was a pain in the butt to shoot all that and then have to embed it. Then, along comes Google Glass. If we could have given the workers Glass to shoot the footage, it would have been easier."
Glass units can also be used by students for other point-of-view experiments in films, in which the cameras can capture visuals from the wearer's point of view, he said. Classic films of the past, including "Lady in the Lake" and Humphrey Bogart's "Dark Passage," both from 1947, showed the power of point of view in such films, he said.
"What we're trying to do is to explore this idea of multiple viewpoints, such as how they can overlap and how they can be presented on the screen," said Fisher. "Glass makes this much easier than the huge cameras used in 'Dark Passage' and 'Lady in the Lake.'"