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Using Google Glass to Make SciFi Films–A Cyborg in New York

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

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Media entrepreneur and DIY filmmaker, Boonsri Dickinson , who also has a degree in Chemical Engineering, has created a short scifi film using Google Glass with some help from her iPhone! It’s about two friends (one human and a cyborg) who meet in a treehouse to discuss love.

Consider Google Glass. It almost insists we consider the wearer as something from some imagined scifi future, and this is the role Boonsri plays. She is futuristic and somewhat alien, and has had a “crash” of her Google Glass, which, at least in this story, stores not only memories in the form of video, photos, and other recordings, but her emotions as well. As there is some restoration of certain lost aspects over time, she struggles with the concept of love, and ultimately awakens to the idea that she is the object of this friend’s affections and therefore she should, too, be aware of what love is.

Boonsri’s inspiration to create this short came from several sources. First was, of course, the tools at her disposal which create a simple interface to interact with and record the world. The second was the two part temporal design of “Slumdog Millionaire” where a longer time frame, the protaganist Jamal’s entire life, is played against the shorter questioning/torturing sequence surrounding the contest, confined within a few hours. In “A Cyborg in New York”, the 30 minutes or so in the tree house harkens back to the day the two first met and the day they spent together.

Boonsri and her friend shot the film in the morning and she edited it on her iPhone with the app Givit in addition to using Final Cut in the afternoon and evening. There was no production cost, and the “script” was improvised and spontaneous. As Boonsri points out:

I think this is the future of filmmaking. Mobile technology has allowed us to make movies on our phones and even film it with a first person perspective with Google Glass (since it is literally on the person’s head.. no tripod needed or permits). It’s a one person production basically — completely changing how video is done. It turns video into a visual writing form rather than a group project.

I got my masters in chemical engineering. I know the filming process used to involve a lot more manual labor of cutting and processing film so the move to more mobile and digital technology has made filmmaking cheap and accessible to anyone with a phone. It reduced the barrier to entry in the same way blogs and social networks have given many people a voice. As a chemical engineer, I see processes in everything around me and look to invent new ways of telling stories and communicating. The phone and Glass are a natural extension of Microsoft word, just more mobile tools that give me more artistic expression.

This is not Boonsri’s first foray into Google Glass film making, as she made a film about a first kiss.

The first person perspective of Google Glass definitely adds an immediacy and intimacy to both projects. Boonsri has a few more projects in mind and we’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

What kind of project would you create if you had Google Glass?

Joanne Manaster About the Author: Joanne Manaster is a university level cell and molecular biology lecturer with an insatiable passion for science outreach to all ages. Enjoy her quirky videos at, on twitter @sciencegoddess and on her Facebook page at JoanneLovesScience Follow on Twitter @sciencegoddess.

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

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  1. 1. jessykim2 3:05 pm 09/23/2013

    my friend’s sister-in-law makes $68/hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 7 months but last month her pay was $13466 just working on the computer for a few hours. Full Article……

    Link to this

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