Facebook is really trying to make its video calling device, Portal, more appealing to kids and adults who grew up with Harry Potter. Their latest updates for Portal allows users to blend in with Harry at Hogwarts through some nifty AR magic.
Callers in UK and the US can now pretend they attend Hogwarts, too, thanks to a Portal crossover with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Up to four people can use the augmented reality technology to dress up as their favorite Harry Potter characters and chat as if they were Hogwarts students.
“Anyone can initiate the experience by tapping “Curtain Call” in the effects tray on Portal. You can then select one of three locations from the menu to visit: Hogwarts Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic or the Edge of the Forbidden Forest. When the lights come up, each person on the call will embody a character from the show with a unique spell, which is assigned randomly. Simply nod your head or tap the screen to cast it and watch as your friends marvel at the magic.” explains Facebook in an official blog post.
To make the experience as realistic as possible, the AR masks that will be used during the experience match each user’s sking tone. The Spark AR technology does real-time skin sampling for the spell to take place and then converts it to the AR mask.
Portal-to-Portal callers will take advantage of the AR masks and “Curtain Call” features fully but normal Instagram and Facebook users can play with that, too. Applying the effect and recording the experience will happen, however, through the app’s camera and on Stories.
With nearly 10,000 employees apparently working in the Reality Labs division, it’s no wonder Facebook is pushing this service to the max, hoping to attract more users by leveraging pop culture.