Have you ever dreamed of running away and joining the circus? What if you could join the circus, what would you be? A magician, an animal trainer, a clown, acrobat? In Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful“, small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco), drifts away from his dusty Kansas circus in a hot air balloon, and ends up in The Land of Oz. As fans eagerly await the March 8, release of the film, Disney has found a way for you to travel to the Land of OZ from your computer with an interactive experience .
Taking advantage of advances in new technology Disney and UNIT9, have created a Chrome Experiment, “Find Your Way to Oz.” This amazing journey bypasses the infamous yellow brick road, and takes you straight through Diggs’ circus as you follow the Wizard’s path to the magical Land of Oz.
What can you do on your journey? Create your own tune, make silly faces with a photo booth and create your own movie with a zoetrope (this is an amazing feature that was SO much fun). There’s also an ominous tornado you’ll have to navigate to complete your journey. If you survive the storm, you’re rewarded with an exclusive unreleased clip from the film!
Just a few years ago, Chrome Experiments like “Find Your Way to Oz” would have been just a geek’s dream. As technology and the web have evolved, developers and designers have the tools to create immersive beautiful experiences. The vibrant 3D environment in “Find Your Way to Oz”, was built entirely with new technologies like WebGL and CSS3. Rich audio effects enhance the program by using Web Audio Application Programming Interface (API). One of my favorite features, the photo booth and zoetrope were built using the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC, which grants webpages, with your permission, access to your computer’s webcam and microphone.
You’ll need to use an up-to-date computer built to handle intense graphics, for the best results (graphics are incredible). To utilize all the features you need a webcam and a modern browser that supports WebGL and WebRTC, like Chrome. You can also access the experience, on a smaller scale, but same level of coolness, from your Android phone or tablet, iPhone or iPad.
For the geeks out there, like myself, that are fascinated with the ability to create this experiment, you can learn more about the technology and development, on the Chromium blog or in Google’s technical case study.
“Oz The Great and Powerful“ lands in a theater near you on March 8. See more of the vibrant land when you “Like” Oz the Great and Powerful on Facebook, and follow the journey on Twitter @DisneyOzMovie.
Thank you to Disney and Google for giving Surf and Sunshine a sneak peek into this fun partnership. All opinions are 100% original.