New smart devices and wearables are all the hype these days. As consumers and geeks, the excitement to see how new technology like smart watches and smart eye wear will change our lives is incomparable. But we do know all new tech is met with some distress and mistrust.
Products like Google Glass, for example, have created a wide range of problems. It makes sense – it’s a type of technology we have never seen before and must put together a set of general rules for it. Call it “Glasspectations”. The problem here is that it has been met with fear and over-reaction
The latest hot topic for Google Glass and wearable enthusiasts is the fact that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) have banned video recording-capable devices in USA theaters. Users must not only turn them off, but completely put them away.
Here’s the exact wording:
The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have a long history of welcoming technological advances and recognize the strong consumer interest in smart phones and wearable intelligent devices. As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave. If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken.
To be bluntly honest, this seems rather ridiculous. But let’s stop complaining and go over the reasons why this is far from being a good idea.
Movies recorded with Google Glass or other similar wearables would have horrible quality
If someone is going to pirate a movie by recording it from the theater, I seriously doubt they will do it with Google Glass or a silly camera hidden in a smart watch. The actual quality of the video would be OK, though not outstanding. The real issue would be that wearables are in our bodies.
Human beings cough, sneeze, look around, talk and move all the time. Do you really think it’s feasible to sit in front of a screen without moving for up to 2 hours (or more)? It would be much easier to use a phone or camera with some kind of tripod.
Oh, and audio would also be crap.
Even if we tried, we wouldn’t be able to record a 2-hours movie with a wearable
I doubt those who came up with these rules even understand this technology. After having used Google Glass extensively, we can say you would be very lucky to get more than about 30 minutes of battery life with Google Glass recording continuously.
These can be 2-hour (or longer) movies! Unless you buy a very serious camera, you won’t be able to record a full movie. Never mind these wearables, which have tiny batteries and are only meant to record short clips. I don’t think even my DSLR cameras can handle recording a full movie before dying. It just doesn’t make sense, guys.
Some people may need these devices in order to enjoy your movies!
There’s not many wearables with cameras out there, so we have the slight suspicion this is mostly about Google Glass users. If it’s not, it still affects them, and we can say banning Google Glass may be considered inhumane depending on the circumstances.
While we are still under the assumption those who created this rule know nothing about Google Glass, let’s try to remind them some people use the device with their prescription glasses. This means they need Google Glass in order to see!
I don’t know about you, but I would be deeply offended if I needed glasses to see and was asked to remove them. Especially if it was requested by an establishment I have patronized and expect good service from.
And really, it’s not even about the technicalities
Even if wearables were the absolute best option for pirates, it just doesn’t make sense to go this far. We understand there’s a need to protect intellectual property and support that, but banning wearables in fear of pirating is like prohibiting Ferraris in fear of speeding drivers.
There needs to be a level of trust for things to run smoothly. Of course, people should be prosecuted if they are discovered to be recording a movie, but it seems unreasonable to just ban video-capable wearables altogether. Even phones are allowed into theaters, and those are actually a much better option for recording a movie!
What is next? Will you make us turn in all camera-bearing devices at the door? This has to stop. We know you are only trying to protect your business, and some people will steal your movies if they can. The fact here is that it’s not smart to inconvenience your customers like this.
Business people, more than any of us, know about theft losses or collateral damage. People will steal from you, it’s something you even account for in your plans. Doing this will bring many unhappy customers and it won’t make your losses that much smaller.