New streaming service brings new ways to watch short films and series.

If you have a quick few minutes to spare on your daily bus ride or lunch break at work it’s an attractive draw to pull out your phone and watch something. Quibi hopes to video content specifically with these habits in mind. 

Chief Executive Officer of Quibi, Meg Whiteman, stands on stage during a keynote speech at Consumer Electronics Show 2020.
“We believe we barely explored all of the capabilities of our mobile device and how they can transform storytelling.” Meg Whitman, (Chief Executive Officer of Quibi), on how they aim to be to T.v. what T.v was to radio.
Image from Quibi’s CES 2020 keynote.

A streaming service just for your phone. 

This April a new streaming service is launching, and it has a few distinctions to set it apart from the growing sea of on-demand services. Quibi is focused on providing content for the people who like to watch on the go, probably switching the orientation of their phone as they go.  As explained during a keynote at CES Quibi hosts and produces high budget short films about 4 to 10 mins long. 

Quibi’s crown innovation is that it uses technology that is in modern smartphones to tell a story in ways that cannot be told in just a traditional screen. It could be as simple as using the Gyroscope to sense the orientation of your screen. Depending on how you hold your phone when you move your phone mid-movie from landscape orientation to portrait it will switch to a different shot that will fit the new aspect ratio. 

Films that adapt to how you watch. 

You might think, “Wait doesn’t ‘hu-flix-prime+’ already turn my show right side up. ?”  Yes, it does, that’s all it does. Quibi’s content doesn’t just re-crop or shrink the show to fit the screen, which is what most of the streaming services do. Quibi developed What they call Turnstyle Technology.  it will switch seamlessly, to a different version of the same film that will use the full screen of the phone, no matter the orientation. 

two pictures of the same shot from Quibi Original series, Shape of Pasta. It shows the composition of the shots depending on how you hold your phone.
This is how Quibi’s Turnstyle would look like. While some shots are simple ‘crop to screen’ conversions, some shots and elements are recomposed to properly fit whenever you decide to turn the screen. (Images grabbed from Quibi’s 2020 CES Keynote.)

Quibi also showed off how this Turnstyle Technology can be used to offer the opportunity to have the audience interact. In a Short Thriller titled “Nest”, turning your phone from landscape to Portrait changes the shots from a traditional widescreen thriller scene, to a view of what interactions the main character is having on her phone. 

Smart Films for Smart Phones.

Technologies Quibi plans to use from your smartphone include the time of day, camera, and GPS. Quibi is offering all these tools to their content creators to let them creatively figure out how they can use these technologies to tell their stories. 

For Steven Spielberg, he set out to make his horror series “After Dark” only watchable once the sun goes down. Another example of Quibi’s use of smartphone technology is unlocking episodes once your phone reads where you are, what time and whether or not the sun has set or not. 

With new creative tools being brought out from smartphones it will be interesting to see how more storytellers will tell their stories and take advantage of the new tools. For $10 a month ($7 if you don’t mind ads) it will also be interesting to see how many people flock on to this new service that is trying to innovate and set itself apart from traditional ‘Hu-flix-prime+’ services.

2 thoughts on “New streaming service brings new ways to watch short films and series.

  1. As someone who loves to watch all sorts of films being able to watch a variety of short films on a device that’s in my pocket is truly revolutionary. After reading this I am very excited to see how the screen will adapt to being held vertically as opposed to the traditional horizontal view we are all used to, and with a low cost per month, I do hope many people jump on this. Now I don’t think this will rival the big company that are already in place but this could open up a whole new indie avenue for indie directors and producers to get there content out there.

  2. Hey James!,
    Very cool topic that you chose to write on, quibi sounds like something out of a sci-fi realm. As somebody very interested in film and who watches Netflix quite a bit it is awesome that somebody is trying something totally different to not only change the experience you have but how the film world can advance. I also liked the part where you talked about how they will use your camera or gps to adjust the movie you are seeing, It will be very interesting to see how that is implemented. I can’t wait for it to come out! thanks for sharing

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