Home Channels Digital Media Google Spotlight Stories App Launches for Android, Newest Story “Help” Premieres

Google Spotlight Stories App Launches for Android, Newest Story “Help” Premieres

Google Spotlight Stories


Upcoming Google Spotlight Stories from several award-winning filmmakers and artists,
as well as the new Story Development Kit (SDK) also announced  

At Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco, which kicks off today, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group is pleased to announce the launch of the new Google Spotlight Stories app, now available on Android via the Play Store and will be available soon on iOS.

Google Spotlight Stories, which was first launched in October 2013, explores the timeless tradition of storytelling in new mobile technology. The first three stories, “Windy Day (directed by Jan Pinkava),” “Buggy Night (directed by Mark Oftedal),” and “duet (directed by Glen Keane),” which were previously available only for Moto X and Moto G users, are also now available on the Google Spotlight Stories app.

Google Spotlight Stories combines mobile engineering with filmmaking to create an original “on device” experience: the phone creates a window to a story all around you, you have the freedom to look anywhere, set the pacing, frame the shot. Google Spotlight Stories is a new narrative format for 360-degree, immersive, interactive stories. Think of it like a mobile movie theatre in your pocket.


At tomorrow’s Google ATAP session at Google I/O, acclaimed Hollywood director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious films, True Detective, the upcoming Star Trek 3) will make a special appearance and premiere the newest Spotlight Story, HELP. The film tells the story of a young woman who investigates what appears to be a meteor that has crashed into a downtown Los Angeles street and eventually finds an unexpected surprise inside. Written and directed by Lin and executive produced by his production company, Bullitt, HELP is the first immersive, live action film made uniquely for mobile. It connects the Google Spotlight Stories series to traditional cinema for the first time.

As with every story, HELP was a leap in technical complexity. The teams at ATAP, Bullitt, and the award-winning visual effects house, The Mill, created state-of-the-art tools for the creation of the film. Together, they built a dedicated first-of-its-kind camera rig, their own 360-degree filming pipeline, and interactive cinema-quality video playback at 60 frames per second.  New solutions for directing, lensing, shooting, action, cinematography and post production in 360-degrees were created. It is the first Spotlight Story in 3D dynamic virtual surround. All this to allow the viewer to experience the film as immersive; to feel as if they are in the action.


Google ATAP also announced several new partners currently creating Google Spotlight Stories for release later this year. Shannon Tindle and Patrick Osborne will join previous directors Jan Pinkava and Glen Keane as well as ATAP’s Technical Project Lead, Rachid El Guerrab, in a special “Sandbox Talk” panel moderated by Google Spotlight Stories Executive Producer Karen Dufilho-Rosen.

  • Emmy Award®-winning artist Shannon Tindleis currently directing “On Ice” which is being made with Evil Eye Studios in San Francisco and is due for release this year. “On Ice” tells the story of an over-the-top, sci-fi themed ice show and its star, who suddenly finds he has competition for the spotlight from an unlikely rival.
  • Aardman co-founder and Oscar®-nominated director Peter Lord will oversee “Special Delivery,” which is being directed by Tim Ruffle and is tied to the holiday season.
  • After winning the Best Animated Short Oscar® earlier this year, director Patrick Osbornejoined the Spotlight Story team to develop and produce a unique Google Spotlight Story in his signature style, currently titled “Pearl.” The film is told in a musical format, and is about the gifts we inherit from our parents, both tangible and intangible.
  • Acclaimed London-based studio, Nexus Productionsis also working on an upcoming Google Spotlight Story, with Chris O’Reilly as Creative Director on the project.


In addition to the app, Google Spotlight Stories also unveiled their Story Development Kit (SDK) at Google I/O by offering demos at their Sandbox on the conference floor. The new SDK will enable studios all over the world to be able to create customized, curated stories for the Google Spotlight Stories app. “With the SDK, an animator can build a story using familiar tools (e.g. Autodesk’s Maya) and set up an interactive story in an intuitive way,” said Rachid El Guerrab, ATAP’s Technical Project Lead for Google Spotlight Stories. “A lot of work is going into our new ‘film language’, and how we introduce creators to thinking in 3D, in 360 degrees, with a free camera, and with viewer-based pacing. The SDK also offers various tools to help storyboarding, music and sound design, publishing, testing on phones, etc.,” he continued.


ATAP is focused on breakthrough innovations in mobile computing and accelerating the development of promising technologies to market.


Writer, director and producer of films grossing over $2B, including several films in the Fast and Furious franchise. Recently completed directing two episodes of True Detective and is currently directing the upcoming Star Trek 3 for Paramount. Entrepreneur and Founder of Perfect Storm Entertainment and Bullitt, a filmmaker collective and creative studio situated at the nexus of entertainment and advertising.


Bullitt is a filmmakers collective and creative studio situated at the nexus of entertainment and advertising. Founded by creators for creators, Bullitt has curated a roster of exceptional directors and writers expert in the creation of brand-integrated entertainment and advertising content. With the conviction that storytelling is the most powerful form of messaging, their work utilizes whatever technology is necessary to target a market – or create one – and break down the barriers that stand between an advertiser and their desired audience.

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