No body lives forever. But that’s just a technicality for the citizens of Netflix’s new cyberpunk drama Altered Carbon. The series imagines a future with Psychasec, a company curing the “disease” of mortality by letting consumers transfer their consciousness into a new body for eternal life.
To promote the series release, Here Be Dragons teamed up with Netflix to let users experience Psychasec 300 years early. The result was the Altered Carbon Interactive Mirror, an augmented reality installation that brought a whole new meaning to online shopping. Each user began by selecting one of seven virtual bodies to try on. These “new forms” were represented through avatars that mirrored the user’s unique gestures and facial expressions. After the experience, participants received a shareable video of themselves with their chosen body.
Experiential studio Here Be Dragons rose to the challenge of creating life-like avatars to successfully imitate the guest’s facial expressions. Project developers took 3D scans of the actors to capture their facial expressions and body movements, allowing everything from the texture of their skin to the movements of their eyes to be realistically replicated in a non-human avatar. With the help of 3D artists MacInnes Scott, static scans were rigged and animated in real-time - creating realistic, human-like “sleeves.”
An unprecedented hardware pipeline was created for the facial scanning and body tracking, using off-the-shelf elements like the xBox Kinect and a 4k USB Camera. Creating a never-before-seen experience out of familiar consumer hardware made the controls easy and comfortable, allowing users to let go and have fun “shopping” for their new body.
Altered Carbon’s Interactive Mirror premiered at São Paolo’s ComiCon in December 2017 before traveling to New York, Manila, Warsaw, Milan, and Paris. Thousands of people around the world visited the experience, and rapid social sharing spread the word through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The spectacle left users with anticipation for the Altered Carbon series and a taste of the fictional future sold by Psychasec.
Executive Creative Director
Executive Technical Director
Patrick Milling-Smith, Fredrik Frizell