Eat Your Heart Out Apple: Dell Tablet to Film Hollywood Movie


I don’t mean the tablet will be used in the film, I mean it will be used as the camera to create the movie.   The tablet in question is the Dell Venue 8 7000 with the Real Sense camera that just hit the stores this month and won the most innovative award at CES. The movie effort is a collaboration with Intel, the creator of the camera, and it will be directed by two time Oscar winner Robert Stromberg most recently known for Maleficent .

The movie Title is “What Lives Inside,” and it a fantasy expected to premier on Hulu late-March this year.   This suggests a very tight production schedule because they are still asking for help to create characters and for a normal film released in March we’d be ending the end of post-production not still doing character and script development.  

I think this is one of the many indicators that we are entering a very interesting time for movie development. The equipment (cameras to production) can be affordable to the home hobbyist and where films come out like Amazon books very fast with some true gems, quality that is all over the map, and the choices we have with regard to what we are going to watch explode. 

Intel Real Sense Camera

At the heart of this effort is the unique Intel Real Sense Camera, which I saw perform at the Dell keynote at CES. This was arguably the best keynote of the show because it was professionally directed and they blended the technology very nicely into the overall theme. The Venue 8 7000 was used in the opening to tape the dancers and apply special effects real time to the show. It was impressive to watch and at the level you would expect at a Las Vegas show. It was pretty amazing that the cameras were actually tablets. Granted they still had real cameras for some shots as it is hard to get away from the need for zoom lenses which the tablet doesn’t have but the fact you could use a tablet to create something this high quality really got me thinking about the other things you could do with this thing as well.  

What makes the RealSense camera different is that it is a variable depth camera. It actually is three cameras working in concert and this gives the tablet a very unique capability. You can change the focus of the video or snapshot after you take it providing flexibility in post-production that is exceedingly rare. 

Clearly I wasn’t the only one thinking of this, which is why we have the coming TV movie. 

Blending Technology Into the Story

As noted above, what made the Dell presentation powerful is they blended the products into it so it was thematic in nature. The movie plot will surround the child of a puppet master who through their imagination explores their parent’s world. This is solidly tied to imagination and creativity both key aspects of the Venue 8 and RealSense camera efforts. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the tablet on both sides of the film, both being used heavily to create it, and being used as a working prop in the film.  

But the importance of this will show adults and particularly children what can now be done with an offering like this, capture their imaginations, and create interest in a feature and capability few know about or even have access to yet. This isn’t just about creating excitement about a feature but about a new way of doing things and if successful we should see a whole bunch of compelling new video content created on tablets and published to the web or by more traditional means.  

You can see this emerge over time across the series of “Inside” films, yes there have been more of them.  They started with “Inside” where the audience helps the some poor woman get out of a horror film.  This was followed by “The Beauty Inside” about some poor sap that wakes up every day in a different body. And the latest was “The Power Inside” where some poor guy is suddenly up to his neck in aliens with mustaches. By watching, one can see how this capability is advancing and it is advancing impressively fast since the first film was less than four years ago. 

Wrapping Up:  Anticipating Amazing

This is clearly just the tip of a coming iceberg of creativity as capabilities, like this advance the line between what professionals and amateurs can create gets increasingly blurred. Processing power is giving us ever greater capabilities to create Green Screen effects where all that is needed a quality acting staff and coincidently the RealSense camera is perfect for Green Screen work. I do wonder about Apple though, as they have been late to stylus support, which is pretty important to artists and now they are late with a camera like this even though they are just as close to Intel these days as Dell. This Dell Venue tablet seems to better target one of Apple’s core markets, photographers, better than Apple is currently doing and that could be problematic for them long term.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

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