FilmReal: A/R Meet NYC’s Famous Films

Relive your favorite scenes from the Big Apple’s past films Where They Took Place with NYC’s first interactive augmented reality film experience

Have you ever walked down the street and stopped to watch a film crew setting up, peering to see if your favorite actor/actress was nearby? Ever seen past or present famous NYC vistas in a movie and wish you could be part of the action?

Now you can, with FilmReal, NYC’s first augmented reality cultural attraction!

Film Crew on Site in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

FilmReal is a location-based augmented reality experience that brings scenes from NYC’s famous past movies to life in the places they were filmed. It features an extensive roster of movie locations across the five boroughs covering genres from drama to horror to comedy. 

Users can access the FilmReal interactive map beforehand and find movies by genre, year, and location. After picking their favorite locations to visit, they can head to the site and look for the FilmReal logo at the location the scene took place. Using the free paired FilmReal app for iPhone and Android, visitors can then view the scene filmed in their location, overlaid on what it looks like today.

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The team behind FilmReal wanted to create an augmented reality experience that would get users out of their homes and onto the streets. They believe that culture is best experienced on-site, and that augmented reality (which is inherently location or “reality” based) provides cultural institutions and media outlets an innovative new way to deliver media. By harnessing location-based services, tourists and fans can literally see the movie where it was filmed, allowing them to better experience the time, history, and embedded cultural stories of the place they are in.

FilmReal in action! Watching Fame outside Laguardia Arts High School, where it took place.

They also believe that this methodology provides new opportunities for NYC tourism stakeholders (such as local government and cultural institutions) as it has the potential to draw new markets as well as support curated neighborhood experiences of culture.

FilmReal is currently seeking to pilot the project with local Business Improvement Districts in Midtown Manhattan, due to the density of filming locations and nearby cultural attractions. In the future, they believe that the project could be scaled citywide and tied into current efforts to draw filmmakers through the Made In NY Film Production Tax Credit.  According to the Mayor’s Office of Entertainment, NYC has gained $8.7 billion in revenues from just issuing film permits in NYC, and FilmReal could help to curate an end-to-end local movie experience for media companies, generating more value from local films.

To learn more about FilmReal, see the live demo below.

Designers: Merrilee Pan, Dana Martens, Eric Jiang

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