We tested the world’s first comedy show with an augmented reality headset

Augmented reality has revived Tupac in concert and duplicated Jean-Luc Mélenchon in political meetings throughout France thanks to holograms. This technology now extends to other areas: humor. Presented at the Lillarious festival last February, the holoported show was able to be tested this time by an audience equipped with augmented reality helmets during the Big Perf in Cannes. A world first 20 minutes experimented on Tuesday.

In the auditorium of the Hotel Eden, the first two rows are “reserved” for the public. Before Zack and Stan’s show begins, two famous magicians who have been on several TV shows, augmented reality headsets, HoloLens2, are handed out with instructions to “don’t touch them.” “The experience is only visual,” says Othman Ciheb, product manager at Microsoft.

Objects that appear when you think about them

Zack enters the stage, also wearing a helmet. From the outset, the illusion of reality is called into question when he takes a 100 euro note from his iPad and transforms the device into a newspaper. It is then that Stan appears through the glasses, less precise than Jean-Luc Mélenchon at the level of the hologram. The show will last between fifteen and twenty minutes, mixing interaction with technology, with the public and both. Virtual objects appear above the heads when you think about them, then become real in the hands of the magician, sensations felt in the room by the digital version of the actor or even mini-games directly in the helmet. Disturbing this magic of technology.

The magician Zack on stage with a member of the public during the holoported show at the Big Perf festival in Cannes – E. Martin / ANP / 20 Minutes

“Impressive, loose Tanya, leaving the show. It’s very innovative but also very realistic. Whether it is integrated into a humorous representation, it changes and it allows to give a participative side to the thing. Gazi, her husband, adds: “It allows us to laugh together despite the headphones over our eyes. It is in tune with the times. »

“The real world, the world of magic and the world of technology”

For the actors, it was “a challenge”. “We like things a little complicated, develops Stan. It is a work of three or four weeks of writing then of realization with the teams of Holoforge. It is surprising to arrive at such a result even if we know that it is embryonic. We’re kind of the precursors in this format too! In five years, we do not know what this innovation will bring us. »

For him, what is “crazy” is being able to see the public and talk to them from a distance. “It’s disturbing not to be on stage, especially as a performing artist because you need this relationship with the public,” he says. Besides, it still lacks the feeling. We’re not in the room so we can’t really hear the laughter. »

Zack adds: “It’s always rewarding to participate in new technologies. As a magician, it’s an SLR. We always want to go further. This new way of expressing ourselves opens up even more possibilities. At each end of the session, he asks those present to “give him feedback”. “It’s quite funny because people are already wondering how to do magic tricks, but with technology, everything is even more disrupted. There is the real world, the world of magic and the world of technology. And at the same time, with augmented reality headsets, we stay in the same reality as everyone else. »

A democratization of technology for its development

For Sarah Lion, XR project manager in charge of the show, it is a format that is set to propel itself on a larger scale. “It’s like the days when we were given glasses to see movies in the cinema in 3D. But with augmented reality, the spectator even becomes an actor. It’s an innovation that increases the story of the actors and allows them to enter their universe, even more creatively, while remaining connected with their audience. »

She remains lucid all the same on the development of this format which requires “a democratization of the helmet” but also to find places with a broadband connection.

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