YooStar entertainment system

Yoostar aims to be the 'Guitar Hero' of the film world

There’s no denying YooStar has a good idea: Insert yourself into scenes of your favorite films by using a pretty decent version of the kind of tools filmmakers use. But buyers looking to truly blend into a film will quickly learn why d.p.’s earn the big bucks, while wannabe filmakers will learn a thing or two.

YooStar aims to be the “Guitar Hero” of the film world. The product (creators bristle at it being called a game) uses a greenscreen, high-resolution webcam and proprietary software to let fans act “alongside” stars in specific scenes. Once they’re happy with the shot, they can upload their clip to a YouTube-like site hosted by YooStar, where anyone can view it.

It is, admittedly, a really fun way to get into the movies. But it also shows how little things can make a big difference when it comes to filmmaking. Lighting, acoustics and positioning aren’t very important when you’re on a webcam or shooting your child’s first steps. But they become critical components when you’re trying to blend into a big-budget picture.

For instance, shooting in a well-lit room when inserting yourself into the “It’s 106 miles to Chicago… ” scene from “The Blues Brothers” puts you in stark contrast to the shadowed Belushi or Aykroyd of the original and undercuts the fantasy of being a part of the film. Filming your part in a room with hardwood floors? The sound quality will be markedly different as well.

YooStar comes with 12 film and television clips included in the box (the company website promises 14 clips, and a YooStar rep said the other two come via free download). It’s a mix of classic older fare (such as “Some Like It Hot”) to more modern fare (like “The Godfather,” “Animal House” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”). Most will appeal to the consumer who buys YooStar with parties in mind.

The webcam and greenscreen are both fairly high quality, but it would have been nice to have a deeper assortment of scenes out of the box. With the package’s steep retail price, the limited number seems skimpy. (Additional clips can be purchased online for prices ranging from 99¢ to $3.99.)

Moreover, the software is a resource hog, demanding a whopping 10GB of free space on your hard drive (40GB is recommended). And since users of the version reviewed weren’t given a chance to decide where to install the program, those who have partitioned their drives could be out of luck.

Still, it’s a notable first effort by YooStar — and there’s little doubt its hosted website will soon be cluttered by those trying to make a scene.

Popular on Variety

YooStar entertainment system

Film entertainment system

Production: A YooStar presentation of a product developed by YooStar. $170

More Digital

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

  • Ashley Flowers - Crime Junkie

    'Crime Junkie' Podcast Host Ashley Flowers Responds to Plagiarism Allegations

    Ashley Flowers, creator and host of “Crime Junkie” — currently the No. 1 true-crime podcast — has been accused of using material in her show from multiple sources without credit. In a statement sent to Variety, Flowers said in part, “we recently made the decision to pull down several episodes from our main feed when their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content