Projects: Virtual Paparazzi At The Movie House

August 27, 2014 by Dave Haynes

The Cineplex Digital Solutions team turned on experiential video walls in three of the parent company’s Toronto-area movieplexes this week, creating something of a virtual paparazzi experience for people heading in to see the latest blockbuster.

The walls have three components – two very large LCDs with touch overlays on either side of a rectangular array of Christie MicroTiles that also have touch baked in. All three screen areas have gesture sensors and flanking cameras.

The walls are set up in the lobbies of the theatres and the one I saw in downtown Toronto yesterday was on the hallway leading to the theatres, and would have people gushing past during big movie nights. The screens run a loop video of faux photographers who appear top be waiting for a celebrity to show up. When people walk by, the gesture sensor is triggered and the content switches to the paparazzi going nuts, snapping shots.

That is intended to get people to notice, walk up, and engage with the three stations. They can touch a screen and start a quick process that lets them select a magazine cover, key in their name, and have the webcam take a photo of them. Once done, the person can have that magazine cover emailed to them or to someone else.

dave-horribleI tried it, and it all worked seamlessly. I got back an email and link to a  horrendous Cineplex magazine cover suggesting I was taking Hollywood by storm.


Anyway, it’s a nice execution, and I’d argue one or two tweaks could really jump it up.

First, when I watched it was dinner hour and not many people were in the movie house, so those that were there tended to walk by without even noticing it. The fixture is big, so you have to put it where it fits, but I’d rather see people walking towards it than by it … raising the chance they’ll notice it.

Second, maybe in busy evening periods there are enough people around to generate usage, curiosity and buzz. But I’d use some focused overhead audio to get the photographers hollering at the passersby, so they had a reason to look. The guy I had dinner with suggested it would be really cool if the loyalty apps on phones were tied to beacons that in turn triggered canned audio and yelled your name. Easier said than done, but I like the notion.

Generally I like this because it is not the sort of stupid people tricks things you often see with gesture stations. The experience is directly in context with the movie-going activity, and social share element reinforces the brand nicely.

They’re also, presumably, collecting emails and building on Cineplex’s already successful loyalty program.

The other two installs are on Queensway in Etobicoke and in suburban Vaughan.

Leave a comment