Microsoft has announced a new partnership with Legendary Entertainment, the media giant behind blockbuster hit movies such as the Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Inception, Jurassic World, Interstellar, and many more, including its latest release, Warcraft. The new collaboration aims to explore how Microsoft's HoloLens headset can break down the boundaries between reality and what's depicted on screen.
"Although we're primarily known as a film and television company, we really see ourselves as being world-builders that are in the experience business," said Barnaby Legg, Legendary's vice president of Theatre Strategy. "What's unique about HoloLens is that you can literally reach in to the movie, and bring these characters and these elements right out of the non-interactive medium, into the interactive world that you live in every day."
And as Microsoft's Kudo Tsunoda pointed out, with increasing competition in the entertainment industry, 'world-builders' like Legendary are eagerly "looking for ways to make their content stand out and be noticed".
Legendary's Ethan Stearns said that the company has been exploring ways of using HoloLens to improve the movie production process: "We can use this for pre-visualization, for art directors to see sets before they're built." But both Legendary and Microsoft also see significant potential in using HoloLens to extend the entertainment experience for movie-goers.
Movie and TV studios like Legendary can create digital models of on-screen objects and characters - whether CGI or human - which fans can then interact with through the holographic headset, creating videos that can be shared online.
HoloLens gives storytellers a new medium to tell stories, develop richer characters, and delight people. With HoloLens, there is no longer the boundary of the screen between fans and the content they love. Characters can jump off the screen and into the living room – giving every fan the chance to direct and star alongside them in their own mixed reality movies.
Created and shared by fans, mixed reality movies have the potential to be the compelling, personalized content that appeals to social media audiences. This gives any entertainment company the chance to be part of the future of storytelling, reaching new fans and engaging existing ones in a more personal way.
Legendary showcased one example of its efforts to extend that movie-going experience into mixed reality at the premiere of Warcraft, where fans got to appear next to a hologram of Orgrim Doomhammer, as you can see in the video below:
Over the last year or so, Microsoft has been working closely with numerous enterprise partners to explore how its holographic headset can be used in various industries and business scenarios. Japan Airlines has been using HoloLens to improve training for its fleet engineers; Swedish automotive giant Volvo has been considering how the headset could be used to transform the experience of buying a car; and HoloLens has even been used by NASA aboard the International Space Station.
You can find out more about what it's like to use HoloLens in our feature article from earlier this year.