AR Snapshots: Snapchat's Latest Augmented Reality Lens Turns Celebrities into Lip-Syncing Pop Stars

Snapchat's Latest Augmented Reality Lens Turns Celebrities into Lip-Syncing Pop Stars

The Lens Studio community, now made up of more than 200,000 creators, has generated some impressive augmented reality effects in the last few years. Amazingly, the groundbreaking Lenses for Snapchat continue to come, often from the internal AR team at Snap.

Take, for instance, Cartoon 3D Style, which generated approximately 2.8 billion engagements on Snapchat within its first week.

The latest AR magic trick to arrive on Snapchat (iOS or Android) from Snap's AR team is the appropriately-named Magic Karaoke. Or maybe you've seen it referred to as the "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" filter.

Like Cartoon 3D Style, the Magic Karaoke Lens works with the real-time camera feed from either the selfie or rear-facing cameras or images from your camera roll.

Unfiltered video. Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Instead of morphing human faces into Pixar cartoon characters, Magic Karaoke turns Snapchat into a puppeteer, with any face it identifies becoming virtual singing puppets. In fact, karaoke is an inaccurate term, as what's really going on here is lip-synching for the deep fake era.

Based on the song selected, Magic Karaoke orchestrates the facial movements in time with the lyrics of the track. The Lenses includes five pop songs, led by "Oops!" by Yung Gravy, perhaps best known for its "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" hook. The other options include "Heat Waves" by Glass Animals, "PAPI" by Isabela Merced, "I'm not Pretty" by JESSIA, and "Wellerman (220 KID x Billen Ted Remix)" by Nathan Evans.

Using the live camera view, you can turn yourself and your friends into Milli Vanilli (a very old-school music reference) on the spot. But, frankly, it would be pretty easy to lip-synch along to tracks as they play with a little rehearsal.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

What's more impressive is that Snapchat is pretty good at identifying statues as human faces, too. I was able to animate a bobblehead of baseball legend Satchel Paige as well as a statue of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The real fun comes via the camera roll. Essentially, any photo you can get your hands on with a recognizable face visible is fair game for virtual lip-syncing.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

President Joe Biden and Super Bowl champion Tom Brady met recently, so they were easy targets. Having just led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA championship, Giannis Antetokounmpo was a natural choice as well. And I had to get Coach Nick Saban in on the act because Roll Tide.

From the world of entertainment, Jason Sudekis as Ted Lasso was a natural choice. Actor Jonathan Majors, fresh off a scene-stealing Marvel Studios debut in the series Loki, and actress Michaela Coel, who was recently confirmed to appear in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, rose to the top of the karaoke list as well. And I happened to have an album cover from singer/songwriter Jason Isbell in my camera roll.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Cartoon images work as well. I just so happened to have Tom Hiddleston playing Loki and then processed it through the Cartoon 3D Style Lens, as well as a screengrab of Candela from Pokémon GO, sitting around and waiting to be repurposed.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Some photos work better than others, but the instant processing of each makes trial and error a small inconvenience to produce a clip that slaps.

Considering the popularity of Snapchat AR within the music industry, it would be an easy call for record companies far and wide to apply the effect to the latest tracks from their hottest artists.

Cover image by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

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