Filmed in what appears to be a single continuous shot, war film 1917 is now the front-runner to conquer the Best Picture category of the Academy Awards after bringing home the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in the drama category.
To commemorate the occasion, film buffs can immerse themselves in one of the setpieces from the prestige film thanks to a web-based augmented reality experience from NBC Universal that replicates a one-mile stretch of trench built for the filming.
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Creative studio Powster (which previously contributed to the web AR experience for the latest movie from the Jumanji franchise) constructed the 3D model of the set using drone photography.
The "Into the Trenches" AR experience is accessible on ARKit and ARCore compatible devices at the movie's website. Leveraging the AR Quick Look feature of ARKit and Scene Viewer on ARCore, viewers are able to anchor the model in their physical space and manipulate the size to tabletop or full scale.
However, the default viewing method isn't AR. Upon entering the site, users are prompted to tap the "Start" button to enter a video loading screen. Once there, users can click "Skip" or wait a few seconds for the page to cycle through. Next, viewers are dropped into the web VR experience. Clicking the "AR" button pushes into the AR environment for the respective mobile operating system. Unfortunately, the AR experience does not include hotspots for accessing additional video content, although the VR version does.
Movie-based AR experiences are typically associated with mainstream movies, but a cross-section of popular and high art films has resulted in a handful of AR content from recently recognized films. Among the 2019 slate of Academy Award nominees, Best Animated Movie winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and nominees Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet, Best Costume Design winner Black Panther, and Best Visual Effects nominees Avengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, and Solo: A Star Wars Story had AR promotional experiences associated with them.
In addition, USA Today featured the 2019 Academy Award nominees for Best Costume Design in an AR feature.
As AR gains more traction among mainstream audiences, we can expect to see AR promotional experiences expand beyond blockbusters with more regularity.