The upcoming Ryan Gosling film receives a WebAR experience that uses the actual Moon to function.
Universal Pictures First Man tells the story of the legendary Apollo 11 mission in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first human beings to set foot on the Moon. For NASA and their brilliant team of engineers, scientists, administrative staff, and astronauts, the ambitious mission was so much more than that single, iconic moment. It was about a team people making personal sacrifices and risking everything in order to push the boundaries of exploration and making the impossible, possible.
That moment in history was powerful and inspirational to so many people, and it represented something above and beyond what ordinary humans could ever dream of.
In an interview with entertainment report Kevin McCarthy for Fox 5, the films director, Damien Chazelle, discussed how he approached the making of the movie in a way that he hoped would reflected those feelings, and how he wanted to immerse the audience in a way that felt genuine. Of course, Universal Pictures needed a marketing campaign that embraced the same ideals behind the mission – innovation.
The marketing teams solution solution was WebAR. A concept that is still relatively new in the world of marketing, WebAR allows you to deliver an immersive AR experience through a smartphones mobile browser without the need for any 3rd part apps or hardware. This a huge advancement for mobile AR, which previously required users to download an additional application to run an augmented experience.
To experience First Man in WebAR, simply visit the site through the browser on your mobile device and give permission for the website to access your camera. This allows the website to find the marker and launch the digital content. What’s especially interesting about this particular AR experience is that the marker used to activate the program is the actual Moon.
Once launched, you’re free to move your mobile device between the moon and Mission Control to explore clips from the upcoming movie. Tap on the moon to instantly transport yourself to surface where you’ll have a direct look at Apollo 11 and the American flag standing majestically in front of a faraway Earth. Select Mission Control and you’ll join NASA’s team of engineers and technicians in Houston and check out various Mission Control screens, dials, instructions and schematics, and ashtrays full of cigarette butts that were most likely smoked to help calm nerves.
Both the moon and Mission Control have links that you can tap to launch exclusive interviews with former astronauts, the director of the film, and cast, including Ryan Gosling who plays the title role of Neil Armstrong. You will also have access to behind the scenes footage of the films ambitious production.
But what happens when mother nature decides that she has her own agenda and the moon finds itself hidden beneath clouds or other obstructions? Since you need the moon to launch the AR content, the only reasonable response is to panic, right? No! The creators of First Man WebAR offer an additional mode that will allow you to access the AR experience at any time during the day without actually having to scan the moon.
Since WebAR was first introduced, on-the-fly AR experiences that don’t require additional software or hardware have shown significant potential as effective tools for merchants, artists, and others looking to advertise their service or product.
However, the idea of using WebAR as part of a marketing campaign in the entertainment industry is a relatively new concept. It only seems fitting that one of its first uses in entertainment is to help promote a film which itself is about pushing boundaries.
First Man was directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Academy Award winner Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post). The film stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, and Lukas Haas.
First Man is produced by Universal Studios and will be in theaters and IMAX on October 12.
It should be noted that at the time this story was written, First Man AR was experienced through an Apple device running iOS 12 using Apple’s mobile Safari browser and was not operational on the Bing, Google, or Firefox apps, all of which running on the same device.
Image Credit: Universal Pictures