Assignment: Impossible

Assignment: Impossible

Exploring the area between the unknown and the impossible.

A Modest Proposal: Google Glass Filmmaking


In the series "A Modest Proposal," my colleagues and I will propose inventions and projects that I think are eminently doable and would love made real.

So Glass from Google helps people see what you see, in a hands-free way that's simpler to use than a handheld camera. To me, that could lead to an explosion of first-person perspective films.

A number of movies have been shot from the point of view of a main character over the years. Very often these were film noirs — the entirety of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake was filmed from the first-person perspective, as was the first third of the Bogart and Bacall flick Dark Passage. Still, point-of-view movies are rare.

First-person video games have made the first-person point-of-view far more common. Flight simulators and first-person shooters such as Halo form major genres, and popular games such as Myst and Mirror's Edge.

First-person movies can certainly excite with sex and violence. Notwithstanding the not-safe-for-work title, the hyperkinetic short film Bad M**********r (above) is a lot of fun, coming across as Kotaku says as a cross between Mirror's Edge and Reservoir Dogs. And yes, there is point-of-view porn out there, and at least one porn studio has already noted Glass might be great for shooting it.

The first Google Glass video was a day-in-the-life piece meant to highlight what it was like to use the device, and certainly day-in-the-life movies could be interesting.

More exciting is the possibility that people film exciting things from their point of view like jumping from an airplane. We could see a whole new kind of movie star, akin to the simstim stars of William Gibson's cyberpunk Sprawl trilogy, whose followers could view through their eyes, hear with their ears, feel with their skin, taste with their tongue. It's only a matter of time before science catches up with science fiction. There are lots of experiments one could try with this as well, such as multiple people filming the same movie, so viewers can choose multiple perspectives.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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