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“A Good Night” with John Legend and Pixel 2

“A Good Night” with John Legend and Pixel 2

John Legend just premiered the music video for his new single “A Good Night”—and it was filmed entirely on Pixel 2. We spoke to John about the inspiration behind the video and what it’s like living and communicating in the digital age.

Keyword: Tell us about the inspiration behind the music video for “A Good Night.”

John: The song and the video are about a magical night where you meet someone you immediately connect with and can envision a future together. You’re single, dating, probably using all the apps people use now (I haven’t dated since the advent of Tinder, etc., but it’s a fascinating era in romance), and not finding someone special. But one night—maybe caught up in the music or the drinks or whatever—you meet someone that changes everything. That’s a good night! 

The video is set in a club and visually represents the swiping left of the apps by literally swiping dating candidates away. But eventually our couple finds each other. And then, during the bridge, we see things transform into a fantasy future where our couple sees themselves getting married. It turns into a beautiful celebration of love and connection. All DJ’ed and hosted by yours truly!

"A Good Night" music video

Why did you decide to shoot it on Pixel?

We thought it would be cool to shoot it on Pixel because the camera is amazing and we were fascinated by the idea of using a smartphone to film a big budget music video, a video that brings the smartphone dating experience to life.

What’s your favorite moment from the video?

I love the transformation scene in the bridge where you see everything freeze and become surreal before we fast forward to a fantasy wedding.

What surprised you about filming the video with smartphones?

It was really seamless. We’re so used to doing everything with expensive cameras when we do these major shoots. But the experience of filming with smartphones felt really natural  and the quality from Pixel was amazing.

A Good Night - Pixel 2

How do you think technology like smartphones can help aspiring artists and creators get noticed?

The technology people can use to create has become more accessible and democratized. And there are so many new ways to inexpensively publish your work. This is true in music, filmmaking and other fields. I love it. It’s a boon for creativity and gives so many more people the ability to tell their story and express their vision.  

Who are your favorite new filmmakers?

I’m not sure how you define new. My production company just did a fantastic film called “Monster” with first-time feature filmmaker Anthony Mandler. We’ve worked together before in music videos and commercials, and I think his debut feature film is excellent.

A Good Night gif

The video plays with the idea of apps and social media and how they affect dating. How does the “age of instalove” change the way you talk to your fans?

I talk a lot about what’s timeless about love and human connection. The ways we meet have changed a lot, but I think our emotional needs and desires probably aren’t all that different.

We can’t pass up the opportunity to ask about the women in your life. How does Pixel help you stay in touch with Chrissy and Luna and record your moments with them?

I love using Pixel to talk to Chrissy and Luna when I’m on the road. We love Duo for video calling. The Pixel camera takes amazing photos and videos too.  

I’m a big Google fan so it’s also nice to have a phone that integrates all Google apps so seamlessly. I use Google Docs, Maps, Drive, Calendar and others all the time. It’s great to have a phone made for those apps.

Last question. What are you listening to at the moment?

Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Miguel, SZA—and LOTS of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack in preparation for my big role last Easter Sunday!

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel

Team Pixel is in bloom this spring

Our community of photographers is on the rise, and the #teampixel tribe is officially 35,000 members strong (and counting)! This week’s highlights range from colorful plum blossoms in Sakura, Japan to a confetti-filled wedding.

If you’re looking for a daily dose of #teampixel photos, follow our feed on Instagram and keep spreading the loves and likes with fellow Pixel photographers.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel

135 countries and counting: travel the world with #teampixel

Wondering what our community of Pixel photographers has been up to lately? Check out this week’s selects, from a dancer’s impeccable form (yay burst mode!) to finding love in the streets of Spain. #teampixel photos have been geo-tagged and posted from 135 countries and counting—shout out to our community for their amazing work! 👏 👏 👏

We’d love to see more of your Pixel photos, so keep tagging them with #teampixel and you might be featured next.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel
Google Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approval

Google Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approval

With Pixel 2, we set out to make a mobile experience that is smart, simple, and secure, with a great camera, the Google Assistant to help you get more done, long battery life, and much more. We’ve seen a great response from consumers, and we’ve also gotten fantastic reviews from businesses, employees, and industry analysts for the security and productivity features built into Pixel 2.

Today Pixel 2 and first generation Pixel phones have been recognized in the new Android Enterprise Recommended program, which means the phones are endorsed for the workplace. This new initiative from our colleagues on the Android team showcases enterprise devices and services that meet high standards for security, reliability, and productivity while also enabling the teams which deploy corporate devices to manage them easily and securely.

android enterprise recommended badge

Not only does Pixel meet the baseline requirements of the program, it exceeds many of them. For example, while all devices in the Android Enterprise Recommended program must receive a security update within 90 days, Pixel goes further by delivering security patches and feature updates every month. Pixel gets the yearly Android operating system upgrades first, directly from Google, so that users have the latest software. Pixel 2 also offers a tamper-resistant hardware security modulethat reinforces the lock screen, to better defend against malware and hardware attacks.

Alongside its security protections, Pixel has lots of features to help you out at work: you can use the Google Assistant to find out when your next meeting is and the best route to get there, multitask with split-screen which lets you have two apps open on the screen, or check notes while on a video call with picture-in-picture mode.

With Pixel recognized in the Android Enterprise Recommended program, we offer peace-of-mind to administrators who manage corporate devices, while always helping employees get more out of their phones at work and beyond. We look forward to seeing how Pixel will power mobile productivity at work.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel

#teampixel lights up the holidays

Season’s greetings! With the holidays around the corner, we’re highlighting #teampixel pics that remind us why this time of year is so magical. Join us in kicking off the celebrations with photos ranging from a frosty day in Austria to enjoying sweet treats in Pike Place, Seattle.

We also can’t wait to see what Team Pixel captures in the coming year. Be merry, have a wonderful holiday and see you all in 2018! ✌️

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel
Go behind the scenes of “Isle of Dogs” with Pixel

Go behind the scenes of “Isle of Dogs” with Pixel

“Isle of Dogs” tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

The film isn’t out until March 23—but Pixel owners will get an exclusive sneak peek this week.

In “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality),” the audience is taken behind-the-scenes in a 360-degree VR experience featuring on-set interviews of the film’s cast (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham and Bob Balaban). Get nose-to-nose with Chief, Boss, Rex and the rest of the cast while the crew works around you, for an inside look at the unique craft of stop-motion animation.

Pixel’s powerful front-firing stereo speakers and brilliant display make it perfect for watching immersive VR content like this. Presented in 4K video with interactive spatial audio that responds to where you’re looking, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is a collaboration between FoxNext VR Studio, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Felix & Paul Studios, the Isle of Dogs production team, and Google Spotlight Stories.

ISLEOFDOGS_Stories.jpg

“Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is available today on the Google Spotlight Stories app, exclusively for Google Pixel phones (Pixel and Pixel 2) and best watched on the Daydream View headset. To watch, download the Spotlight Stories app.

On March 2, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” will become available in VR, 360 and 2D via YouTube VR and Fox Searchlight YouTube channel, and any platform that has the YouTube VR app, including Daydream and Sony PlayStation VR. “Isle of Dogs,” from Fox Searchlight, hits theaters on March 23.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Google AR and VR, Pixel
Two #teampixel photographers say “I do” to Pixel 2

Two #teampixel photographers say “I do” to Pixel 2

Jenny and Colin Hayles are professional photographers (Jenny does weddings and Colin captures nature and wildlife) and proud #teampixel members. Knowing that a Pixel 2 can take high-quality photos, they wanted to see how their phones would fare in the most picture-worthy setting: a wedding. We spoke with Jenny and Colin about their experience using a Pixel 2 at an experimental wedding photo shoot.

Tell us about your wedding experiment. How’d you come up with the idea?
Colin: The concept developed when one of my shots was featured on #teampixel, and I realized just how amazing the Pixel camera was. At first, I wanted to show that wedding guests have no excuse for taking lousy pictures if you have a Pixel. But Jenny and her creative team (shout out to our planner from Jaqueline Rae Weddings) went to the next level—she wanted to shoot professional wedding photos with a Pixel. Before we tried it out at a real wedding, we had to see what the Pixel was capable of—from details, to portraits, to action shots. We simulated the details of a wedding day—the gown and tux, rings, stationery, cake and flowers—and recruited our friends Michele and Tom (a real-life couple) to be our models. We used only a Pixel 2 (no reflectors, lights, or tripods) for the entire photo shoot. The results were, I think, better than any of us dared to hope.

Which Pixel features did you use most during the shoot?
Jenny: We used the portrait feature the most—it’s pretty much like shooting with a high-end prime lens with a large aperture. In other words, it beautifully blurs the foreground and background to create that fine art look. Shooting macro shots without an extra lens is fantastic for the details that brides love to see (like shots of their wedding rings).

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Colin and the models

What’s the biggest pro of shooting a wedding with a phone?
Jenny: I loved being able to send images to the couple right away. Often brides and grooms see poor-quality images first, as guests begin to post on social media, but shooting with a Pixel, I can share beautiful images right away.

Did the couple feel more comfortable and natural when the photos were taken on a Pixel, rather than a big professional camera?
Colin: Shooting with a Pixel 2 was a novel idea, so there was some curiosity. We shared images throughout the shoot with the team and bride and groom. There were comments that the next phone they get will be a Pixel 2! It made me think that it is an invaluable tool for non-photographers who work in the wedding industry—like florists—to take high-quality images of their work as well.

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Behind-the-scenes at the wedding shoot: here’s Jenny with her Pixel 2 (decor and furniture came from @modernluxerental)

What other big events you’re going to tackle next?
Colin: We’d love to use the Pixel 2 for a honeymoon or engagement shoot. The idea of not taking along a heavy and conspicuous camera bag and coming away with high-quality images is an exciting and back-saving idea. We traveled to Cuba last year and used our first-generation Pixels to capture the bulk of the photos we took and I was so impressed. I only brought my camera gear along on one day of the whole trip.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel

#teampixel photographer Dave East heads to Iceland

This week, #teampixel heads north of the equator on a trip with photographer, Dave East. Check out his photos from Iceland (shot in subzero temperatures!) that captured everything from giant glaciers to epic waterfalls, and hear about why he loves his Pixel camera.

Can you tell us about your recent trip to Iceland shooting on Pixel 2 XL?
Iceland was absolutely surreal. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. The landscapes feel like another planet. Shooting on the Pixel 2 was just so easy, the camera is so good that  when we were in a hurry I didn’t even take out my DSLR because I knew the shots were going to be just as great on the Pixel 2.

What are your favorite features on Pixel’s camera?
The portrait mode is amazing, it really gets the sense of depth perfectly. I also just think the photos are so crisp, it feel not like a phone camera at all.

What piece of advice do you have for capturing great shots?
For landscape work, check that your horizons are straight and that there is some depth to the shot or leading lines that draw your eye to something in particular. And make sure that you are shooting in a good time of day and that it is not too bright.

Anything else you’d like to share with us and the #teampixel community?
Just keep shooting, keep creating and keep exploring. My favourite thing in the world is travelling to new places and seeing new things.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel

Use Pixel 2 for better photos in Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat

With Pixel 2, we wanted to build the best smartphone camera in the world. One of the ways we did that is with HDR+ technology, which helps you capture better photos in challenging lighting conditions, like scenes with both bright and shaded areas or those with dim light.  This technology has always been available when you take photos from Pixel’s main camera app. Now we’re bringing it to your favorite photography, social media, and camera apps.

Today we’re turning on Pixel Visual Core for Pixel 2 users—a custom designed co-processor for Pixel 2. Using computational photography and machine learning (which powers Pixel’s HDR+ technology), Pixel Visual Core improves image quality in apps that take photos. This means it’ll be easier to shoot and share amazing photos on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, along with many other apps which use the Pixel 2 camera. All you need to do is take the photo and Pixel 2 will do the rest. Your photos will be bright, detailed, and clear.

Pixel Visual Core is built to do heavy-lifting image processing while using less power, which saves battery. That means we’re able to use that additional computing power to improve the quality of your pictures by running the HDR+ algorithm. Like the main Pixel camera, Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before. Plus, it has Zero Shutter Lag to capture the frame right when you press the shutter, so you can time shots perfectly. What’s also exciting is these new features are available to any app—developers can find information on Google Open Source.

These updates are rolling out over the next few days, along with other Pixel software improvements, so download the February monthly update when you see the notification.

These aren’t the only updates coming to Pixel this month. As we announced last year, our goal is to build new features for Pixel over time so your phone keeps getting better. Later this week, we’re adding new Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers themed around winter sports, so you can dress up videos and photos with freestyle skiers, twirling ice skaters, hockey players, and more. Like all AR stickers, these characters interact with both the camera and each other, creating a fun-filled way to enhance the moments you capture and share.

If you post photos or videos to your favorite apps, tag your pictures with #teampixel so we can see all the great moments you’ve captured.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Pixel
With these Pixel tips, your photos will bloom bright

With these Pixel tips, your photos will bloom bright

Spring has sprung, and so have desert wildflowers, daffodils along the highway, and even the tulips you picked up at your florist. Everything seems to be in bloom—and everyone is sharing photos of flowers on social media.

Your petal pics should be the best of the bunch. So with help from Brittany Asch of BRRCH Floral, we’ve gathered a few tips to help you take, store and share the prettiest photos of poppies, petunias, phlox or whatever blossoms you love best—with help from your Pixel, Phone by Google, of course!

  1. Lighting is key. Check your exposure to ensure you’re giving your plants and flowers the right amount of light to see the details. On Pixel, you can easily brighten or darken your shot to get the perfect amount of exposure. Tap the camera, the slide your finger up or down to adjust the exposure depending on the lighting conditions.
  2. Consider your frame. Take note of the surrounding area (is it worthy of the ‘gram?). If it’s not, zoom in. If it is, capture a wider angle that shows the full view. On Pixel, you can use a compositional tool to help frame your shot. Look for the grid in the top right of the camera—your arrangement should be at the center of the grid. We recommend 3 x 3 as a ratio for flowers.
  3. That Lens Blur, tho. This Pixel feature will make your photos look professional. Start by clicking on the menu bar at the top left; you’ll see the Lens Blur option second from the bottom. Click on it, take your photo and slowly raise your phone to capture the perfect lens blur. After you snap a photo you can also edit the placement and degree of lens blur. This is a great for up-close shots!
  4. Grab a friend. Have him or her pose with your flowers to bring them to life and add depth to the photo.
  5. Take as many as you want! With Pixel, you get unlimited high-quality storage with Google Photos for free, so you can try out as many shots as you need without worrying about filling up your phone with dud buds.
  6. Find ‘em later. Just type “flowers” into the search bar in Google Photos for a bouquet of photos just waiting to be shared.

Don’t forget to share your snapshots with #teampixel for a chance to be featured on our Instagram account!

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Photos, Pixel