What do the Blu-ray versions of Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra all have in common? High-definition? BD-Live content? No - it's 3D holographic images that makes these titles special because they star you merged with computer generated imagery.
Welcome to Your Reality
Blu-ray movies have lots of great things going for them, as in a great picture and great sound and even Internet accessibility. But now Paramount has pushed it even farther - by taking you from the Blu-ray player and over to your computer where movie reality and your reality collide... which happens by your going to minisites featuring Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra.
Holograms may yet get smart enough to take over the world, but for now at least they'll be living inside of your computer monitor and obeying your commands.
Each title has its own website - for example, by going to the augmented reality website of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen you find the original 3D models of Optiimus Prime and Bumblebee that were used in the films. The site requires you to download and install a simple plugin (make sure you save anything on the web browser because it automatically restarts) as well as asking that you have a webcam already attached. (Macbook owners have it real easy with their built-in iSight cams.) The room you're in should be well lit, too. And if you go back to the site without a webcam, eventually the site will time out and tell you there's no video in that strange language that keeps figuring in their films (altered a bit to be readable by us mere humans).
How this all works is easier to see than explain, but here goes- when you've gone to the website, the software works in conjunction with your webcam to detect an object placed before the screen. So you're holding your DVD box (bigger than the Blu-ray so easier to use but otherwise the two are the same as to the effect) in front of the screen, and the webcam and software "see" the box and superimpose graphics onto the box.
For example, holding the box vertically in the Star Trek web site superimposes the Starship Enterprise in front of it in a way that seems to be "floating," or if you hold the DVD box flat in the palm of your hand, G.I. JOE animated characters will appear standing on it as it was the floor of a Dojo and start battling before your eyes.
Robots R Us
So you pop to the website with your webcam buzzing and next thing you know there's Bumblebee buzzing right back. Not to mention helping Optimus Prime blast some baddies (again, holding the DVD box flat so he has something to "stand" on). Or solving one of those maddening puzzles using the ancient language. The webcam and the software is using some kind of motion sensing tech to enable the graphics to appear "on" the box, I guess. That it looks cool is no guess but a fact though.
And here's the thing - if you don't have the Blu-ray box, you ain't seeing nothing 'cause the box is detected by the webcam in relationship with the site to make the images appear. Okay, that's not true as any disc box can work, but since Paramount has gone to the trouble of giving you 3D 'virtual reality" it's only fair that you use their movies when going to the website.
There's Even More Reality
Of course there's something for the JOE and TREK fans too - you can go one-on-one against Cobra in a battle to the death (well not real), while would be Captains can pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise through space and play with those wonderful "toys" it comes equipped with.
So are we haing fun or what? It's another great way to enjoy the daydream of being a part of these great movies. Good going, Paramount.