AR-Powered Movie-Making App ‘Diorama’ Lets You Drag-And-Drop Digital Props & Effects

Drag-and-drop digital assets in real-time using LITHO’s AR controller.

LITHO, the company behind an innovative wearable AR controller that resembles a ring made for two fingers, has launched a new movie effects app that lets you drop awesome AR visuals into your movie projects, offering a faster, cheaper, and more intuitive alternative to desktop software such as Adobe After Effects or Cinema 4D.

The app is called Diorama and it works with your smartphone in combination with LITHO’s wearable AR controller by letting you add digital props into your film in real-time while you’re filming. Diorama comes with a number of pre-installed props to use. You can also import your own models by uploading them through Google Poly; for now. More on that a little later.

Adding props to your film with the LITHO controller is a fairly pain-free process. You simply point your hand in the direction of where you want to place the digital prop and drop the object via a quick thumb tap or swipe. You can even animate your object so it moves around or flies above your head. Your actors can then interact with your 3D digital props thanks to built-in body tracking.

To help give you a bit of a jumpstart, LITHO worked with Pascal Sender, Keiken Collective + Ryan Vautier, and Sean Rodrigo to create a library of 3D props that you can use to animate, remix, and share with the world via your AR-enhanced film.

Diorama also includes built-in filters which can be used to change the mood of a scene. You can cycle through different filters by swiping your AR controller, just like you would on Instagram and Snapchat. Try the grey filter to create a sort of dark Zack Snyder look, or bump up the color for an upbeat romcom vibe. The app also allows you the ability to mess with distortion, grain, even motion blur.

Whether it be an explosive action film, serious drama, light-hearted romcom, epic sci-fi adventure, or a slow burn arthouse horror flick like Hereditary, the digital effects and props included in Diorama are enough to get you started on virtually any genre.

During an interview with Nat Martin, CEO of LITHO and creator of the wearable AR controller, Martin talked about Diorama, saying, “Yes, it does use AR but we don’t see Diorama as an AR app. We see Diorama as a movie making app,” Martin adds, “It’s quite easy for filmmakers, or anyone to use, and be able to pull in props or environments into their movie.”

Using AR and VR in filmmaking isn’t a new idea. Gareth Edwards used VR to figure out the best camera angles during some of his epic space battles in his Star Wars film Rogue One, while movies such as First Man and Solo: A Star Wars Story were filmed using AR-enhanced LED backgrounds which allowed the directors to move or add objects to the scene and even change locations as they filmed. The same process is currently being used by Jon Favreau with his popular Disney+ Star Wars series, The Mandalorian

Thanks to Diorama, independent filmmakers now have access to the same type of visual effects that were previously only available to Hollywood studios. It’s a great alternative for people with a much more modest filming budget.

Earlier in the article I had mentioned that you are able to import your own 3D props using Google Poly. Unfortunately, Google recently announced plans to shut down its 3D prop library in June of 2021. Thankfully, Martin and his team are already prepared. “We will be adding Sketchfab support soon,” said Martin, allowing filmmakers the ability to keep working on films without skipping a beat. 

Diorama is available for free on the Apple iOS store. LITHO AR controllers can also be purchased on their website for $99.99.

Image Credit: LITHO

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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