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.

Little known Google Apps

I have had an Android smartphone since 2011 and up until this past Saturday when my beloved LG G5 began malfunctioning. As a college student with not much extra cash to pay for my smartphone to get fixed, I was lent an older iPhone by a family member. I was missing some apps that were on my old smartphone. I wondered if the App store carried Google apps that I used beforehand and, to my surprise they did!

So, here is a brief list of some apps you should check out.  

The first one to be downloaded was Google photos. They have unlimited photo storage but there is one catch, all the photos are limited to a resolution of 16 megapixels. I only learned about this a couple of months ago, meaning I really need to go through and clean out some of the 5,000 photos I have on there.

Google Photos

Noticing the maps on the iPhone is terrible when it couldn’t find the address of a friend that had recently moved. I downloaded Google Maps and found the address right away. A neat feature that can be found is under the menu button. There is an option to click and view “your timeline”. Anytime you allowed your location to be on, Google kept track of your movements. Pick a date or time and you can see where you to travelled to on a day by day basis. Only you have access to this feature but, I’m also a little undivided on whether this is cool or scary.

Google Maps- Your timeline

Google translate was the most helpful app I have ever used. While on a recent trip, I was unsure if I would always have access to internet connection. You can download the language needed for offline use. If you find yourself in a store unable to translate the words, simply open up the app and tap camera icon, locate the text you would like to translate and the app will translate it right on the screen.

Google Translate camera option

Google Translate. Users can highlight text with their finger.

 

Lastly, one of the most powerful apps out there and also forgotten: Chrome remote desktop. The app allows you connect remotely to your desktop and gives access to programs and files. All that is needed is a desktop chrome extension on the computer and can be set up with a pin.

Chrome Remote Desktop

These are some of the Google apps that can be super helpful, so be sure to check them out.

Smartphone cameras then vs now

DSLR cameras have come a long way since 2008. Sony, Canon, Nikon were just a few that were wildly popular back then. The cameras costed anywhere from $300-$1000. Even the best compact digital camera couldn’t compete. Cell phone cameras were minuscule and most couldn’t afford to spend so much money on a huge camera.

With the demand for quality smartphones that do more than just the basic call, text and picture message; companies started paying more attention to the quality of the camera. Camera quality can also be one of the main selling points to customers. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat are all heavily media based content. This allows users to quickly snap a picture, edit it quickly and post it within minutes. Instagram was released in 2010 for iPhone users. When the app began to explode in popularity there was demand for an Android version, but it wasn’t released until nearly two years later in 2012. The app gained popularity among young users, photographers, and many types of other people who wanted to share their creativity with the world.

When the HTC One M8 was released in 2013, it boasted an impressive dual lens camera which hadn’t been seen before. Users also had access to manual controls. This function allowed people to express their creativity more freely within smartphone photography. The freedom of being able to carry a tiny powerful camera that fits into your pocket is more convenient rather than lugging around a heavy and expensive camera along with its accessories. Reaching for a smartphone to capture special moments is almost second nature to many of us.

Fast forward to 2018 almost every smartphone has the ability to capture raw images, manual camera controls, and dual lenses. Companies also developed small camera accessories that have a similar function to DSLR accessories. It is hard to imagine what smartphone cameras will be able to do in the future. Will the cost of the camera drive up the price of the smartphone? Are exposure settings that of full frame DSLR? I’m excited to see what will be coming out in the years to come and I will probably base my next smartphone choice on the camera it features.