Facebook’s Portal allows users the chance to video chat on a variety of devices. Now users can transform into Harry Potter characters while doing it.
Facebook Portal users now have the ability to transform themselves into characters from Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, a Tony Award-winning play set in the Harry Potter universe that follows Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and friends. Portal allows users to video call with friends and family, and the lineup includes the original Portal device, Portal+, the Portal Mini and the Portal TV. The Portal devices also have Amazon’s Alexa AI built right in, and come with a Smart Camera that’s able to track the user’s movement so that they are always in view.
In addition to video calls, Portal smart displays can also be used as a digital picture frame. Earlier this year, Facebook added Zoom capabilities to the Portal TV, offering users the opportunity to hold video conferencing calls on a smart TV and expanding Zoom capabilities to all Portal devices. Since February, users have also been able to use the ‘Hey Facebook’ and ‘Hey Portal’ phrases to wake up their Portal device or Oculus VR headset.
Facebook announced the new Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Curtain Call AR experience on its blog today, explaining that the feature is currently available in the U.S. and the UK. Along with up to three friends, users can find themselves in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic, or at the edge of the Forbidden Forest on the Hogwarts grounds. In addition, users will be able to choose from twelve different AR masks of various characters from the play, with real-time skin sampling technology matching the character’s skin tone with the user’s face. If users don’t have a Portal device, they can still take advantage of the Curtain Call experience using the camera in the Facebook and Instagram apps, including the option to post themselves wearing one of the AR masks to their Story.
How To Use Facebook’s Harry Potter AR Experience
To get started, tap the screen to bring up the Call menu, then tap Effects and select the “Curtain Call” effect from the tray at the bottom of the screen. From there, simply choose from one of the three backgrounds — Great Hall, Ministry of Magic, or the Forbidden Forest — and wait for the lights to come up. At this point, the user will be transformed into one of the available characters, and will even be able to cast a randomized spell. The user just has to nod their head or tap the screen to cast the spell.
Not only is the AR experience fun and unique, but it’s easy to use, too. Since video calls have become increasingly important over the past year, the whimsy and creativity of the Cursed Child AR experience is a nice addition. Facebook users will undoubtedly enjoy tapping into the magic the next time they make a Portal call.