20th Century Fox-backed Baobab Studios launched a new face filter on Facebook Tuesday that lets you sing along to a John Legend song: The “Crow: The Legend” augmented reality (AR) filter turns your face into that of Crow, the feathered hero of Baobab’s latest animated VR film.
The filter uses eye, mouth and eyebrow movement recognition to match up Crow’s facial expression with your own, Animoji-style. It features an exclusive John Legend song from the animated movie, and gives users the chance to either lip sync along, or sing their hearts out in a karaoke mode that includes the lyrics as sing along-subtitles.
Baobab Studios released “Crow: The Legend” on Oculus-based VR headsets in November. The 21-minute film is based on a Native American tale and features a star-studded voice cast including Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu and Diego Luna. John Legend not only plays the main character, but also performs an original song, and signed on as executive producer for the project.
“Crow: The Legend” has also been available as an animated 2D film on YouTube, where it has now been viewed more than 3 million times across various channels — including 2.9 million views from fans of YouTube star Liza Koshy, who voiced one of the characters in the film.
With the launch of the face filter, Baobab wanted to give audiences without VR headsets another chance to experience the world of “Crow: The Legend” in a more immersive fashion, according to CEO Maureen Fan.
The release also helps Facebook as the social network aims to better compete with the social video app TikTok, which has gotten extremely popular with teenagers for its karaoke and lip sync functionality. In November, Facebook even launched a TikTok clone called Lasso to experiment with similar short-form videos.