Fast & Furious: The 3D iPhone App

You’ve seen the bus ads…now check out the free iPhone app for Fast & Furious, which opens April 3. Mobilized TV had a chance to speak with Tyler Murray, director of emerging media at The Visionaire Group which created the mobile strategy for4 the movie.

Tell me about The Visionaire Group – what is it?

The Visionaire Group is a creative solutions agency for digital projects. The bulk of the work is done direct-to-client and mainly directly to the motion picture studios. One division does websites, another does display ads, and the third is emerging media group, which includes Facebook apps, widgets,and mobile capabilities.

For Fast & Furious, we worked directly with Universal. Our web group created the official website and we did a really cool desktop widget the user could download. It looks like a GPS, with lots of interactivity.

What about the mobile application?

We did the iPhone web destination. The reason Universal wanted to do something for mobile is that everything we did on the web is supported by Flash, which is supported on most mobile phones. So they wanted to do something specific to the iPhone [which doesn’t support Flash]. Another company had done some basic mobile web destinations for them. They came to us to take advantage of the iPhone. Our goal was to create something that had never been done before as a web-destination and use the features specific to the iPhone.Hollywood is about what’s cool. That’s what drives the marketing. We were trying to create a really cool experience.

What were some of the iPhone capabilties you wanted to exploit?

2The movie is all about cars, so we wanted to figure out how we apply motion and cars to the phone. We wanted to use the iPhone’s built-in hardware accelerator which allowed us to use advanced Java script techniques, and we used that to build this idea of motion into the site. We’d done an iPhone destination for Jaguar a while back, for a specific model and we’d done something with Java script, where the website was a large canvas on the phone that the user could navigate through. But that was basic. How do we make it more explosive?

So we decided to do things with 3-dimensional objects–not stereoscopic 3D. It’s not even true 3D in terms of making flat images feel three-dimensional. The aim was to provide another navigational experience the user hadn’t experienced before.

In the beginning, we didn’t have an idea of how to make it. The creative group thinks outside the box. Then the developer come sin and says it’s not quite possible, but this is what we can do. So in this case, the designer for this project wanted this idea of flipping the objects over so you could see what was on the back. The developer said he could do that. While the developer was working with the designer on it, they came up with the idea of when they flip the object back around, there’s new content there on the other side. So it was a collaborative development. The good thing about Universal is that they trusted us to create something that they didn’t know what the final outcome was going to be.

How do you flip the object?

We pioneered that as we went through the design. We’d never seen that done before, so we worked with the developer who created it as he went. So, in that design, we questioned if we allow the viewer to control the movement or whether we do that for them, based on certain interaction points. We decided to do that for them, to show them how cool it is. So when the user clicks to go to another content screen, the existing screen will rotate out and then you’ll see the back of the images. It’ll say “loading” and then the new content rotates back in.

What kind of content will we find on the iPhone app?

We did standard content for most of the film sites we do. Video content is a big portion with trailers and clips available for the user to view. We also have a photo section and an “about the film” synopsis, and we had a couple of links to external promotions that Universal is doing. Most of the web and mobile destinations end up having the same kind of content. Unless you come up with a cool way to display that content, they become stale. That’s why this was unique. It was a really interesting way to show content that you see at all other film destinations.

And now that it’s out, what does Universal think?

They’re in love with it. They couldn’t believe that something like this could be created.


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