News: USA Today App Treats Fans with Oscars-Inspired AR Costume Showcase Featuring Black Panther, Mary Poppins, & More

USA Today App Treats Fans with Oscars-Inspired AR Costume Showcase Featuring Black Panther, Mary Poppins, & More

The Oscars are fast approaching, which means that all the most talked about films are getting a second dose of heavy promotion in hopes of winning an Academy Award.

Along with those promotions, we're also getting new looks at some of the films. The most notable new perspective this week comes in the form of augmented reality from USA Today and its new, behind-the-scenes costume feature.

On Monday, an update to the free USA Today app on iOS and Android now allows users to bring some of the costumes from several Oscar-nominated films into their real-world spaces for a closer look.

Among the films showcased in the AR costume feature are Mary Poppins Returns (which features an interview with Emily Blunt), Mary Queen of Scots, Blackkklansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, and Marvel's Black Panther (featuring the garb of the Dora Milaje warriors).

The USA Today team at work during the AR capture process. Image by USA Today/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

"With multiple layers of interactivity between the user and the costume designers, audiences can glean an almost one-on-one experience with the creators of their favorite costumes from these Oscar-nominated films," said Ray Soto, director of emerging tech for the USA Today Network, in a statement.

Each costume shows off a look worn by one of the lead characters in the film and comes with interactive markers that allow you to learn more about the film and the costume's significance to its narrative. In order to execute the feature in a way that's true to the films presented, the media brand used photogrammetry to capture the costumes and worked with the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to access the looks, which are currently on display at a free museum show titled The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design in Los Angeles.

Image by USA Today/Sketchfab

To access the AR feature, you download and launch the free app and then select the USA Today Life section, where you'll find the feature tagged as "augmented reality" and highlighted in blue. Virtual mannequins wear the costumes and pose in your space as life-sized models that you can walk around as if you're in the same room as the figure.

Those without the access to a smartphone capable of running the app experience can sample what it looks like by visiting the USA Today Sketchfab page, which demonstrates a bit of the Black Panther AR costume experience.

The film costume exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA. Image by USA Today/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

We've seen this approach to costume fashion in AR before, most recently via the David Bowie experience, but weaving this level of interactivity into the upcoming Oscars could make the event even more special for hardcore film fans.

"Our access to the Oscar-nominated costumes and designers is what makes this such a one of a kind experience," said Alison Maxwell, managing editor at USA Today Life. "Between the exclusive sound bites with the designers, user interactivity and detailed narration from our reporters, we're taking storytelling to the next level. I'm excited to see how readers will respond."

Cover image via USA Today/Sketchfab

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