Google Glass lets you be in the moment instead of just recording it

As a proud parent, I have often recorded video or shot pictures of my kids doing stuff. There are also many times, however, when I have set the camera down so I could be in the moment instead of just recording it. No matter how easy a camera is to use, whether it’s for still shots or video, the device still creates a barrier between you and the action.

I often see parents at events fiddling with their devices to change settings or adjust focus as they watching their kid’s performance through a viewscreen instead of directly with their own eyes.

That’s why I was excited to give Google Glass a try for recording my daughter’s recent performance at a Solo and Ensemble music competition. Every performance is special, but because she is a senior in high school, I knew this could be her last Solo & Ensemble at this level and I wanted to capture it for posterity. Plus, she chose a very challenging piece without accompaniment, which is unusual for oboe. So, I thought she’d like to have a copy of her performance to watch later, too. But I also really wanted to just enjoy the show.

I had not used Glass to make a serious recording of any real length yet so I knew there was a risk of failure. I was willing to take the risk of not having a decent recording, though, if it meant having the memory of it all clearly in my head.

I’m happy to report that Glass served my purpose extremely well. As my daughter started her performance, I simply pressed a button to start recording. I made a quick couple of taps to extend the video past the 10-second default, and then forgot about the device so I could be immersed in the music.

Because Glass sits right above your line of sight and has a wide-angle lens, it’s very easy to record what you’re looking at without thinking about it. The screen stays on so you can see what you’re recording if you want, but it’s not intrusive. In fact, it wasn’t until we started clapping at the end and I caught my hands moving in the viewscreen that I remembered I still had to tell Glass to stop recording.

Here’s a small highlight of that video:

I did make a couple of observations after watching the replay:

  • You do have to try to remember that you are recording everything, so if you look away, so does your camera. This didn’t happen to me in the less than 3 minutes I was recording, but I could see where it might if you are recording for longer because it’s so easy to forget Glass is your video camera.
  • Because your camera is on your head, you have to remember that you are now the tripod. Every movement can be detected and this has two effects. First, there are times when the recording may not be all that stable if you aren’t able to hold yourself steady. Second, if you move, the camera moves with you, at the same rate. So, while your eyes may adjust rapidly as you look around or move, those who are watching the recording later may not appreciate it, so keep any movements you make slow and subtle.
  • Battery life is still one of Google Glass’ biggest issues. I didn’t have any problems because the video was less than 3 minutes long, but shooting video is definitely a battery hog.
  • The video and audio quality of Glass is quite good. I think the video I shot was certainly on par with anything I got with my iPhone 5S when I would use that, and that phone always gave me nice quality. The lens is a wider angle than most and it’s not adjustable, so you need to keep that in mind and perhaps sit a little closer than you normally would to bring the action in but also keep extraneous activity from the sides out.
  • Having a Google+ account while using Google Glass is fantastic for sharing. Once I was back home and plugged in Glass, it uploaded the video to Google+ via auto backup and then I could easily share it with a few comments to folks in my Family circle.
  • Editing the video is no problem on an Apple product. I was concerned about that since Glass uses mp4 format and earlier versions of iMovie on a Mac have had issues with that format. I’m pleased to report that the latest version of iMovie imported and worked with that Glass video file without a hitch.

In the end, I still think it’s best if parents would just focus on their kids instead of their camera screens, because watching the replay is nothing compared with seeing the event happen live. Make that memory and store it in your own brain first before bothering to store it digitally. But, if it’s a moment you truly want to capture, Google Glass seems to be the least disruptive way to have the best of both worlds.

By the way, my daughter received a 1/Superior rating and is now headed to the State Solo and Ensemble to compete!

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