NEW YORK -- Ever wonder what you'd look like as a computer-generated character? Or how it would feel to control the images in a video game?
Now's the time to find out, using Verizon's Action Hero movie-rendering tool now available over broadband connections everywhere. Designed to showcase the power of broadband and highlight Verizon's focus on entertainment, this free interactive online tool gives consumers the ability to direct their own short, Hollywood-style action movie, played out in a video game motif, and cast themselves as the hero who saves the world from killer bugs, mad scientists or insane robots.
"Today's Hollywood blockbusters are chock-full of computer graphics and complex special effects," said Brian Price, executive director of Verizon's Online Center of Excellence. "More and more people are able to enjoy this type of content online through the broadband services that Verizon provides. We built the Action Hero movie experience to take that one step further and allow visitors to become the star and to be a part of the creative process -- choosing plots, casting characters and playing director.
"The goal is to engage consumers in the power of computer graphics, broadband connections and individual creativity to enhance their appreciation of all three," he said.
Designed by Verizon's interactive communications agency, R/GA, and available at www.verizon.com/actionhero and via Verizon's broadband entertainment portal, VerizonSurround, at http://verizonsurround.com under the "Presents" tab, the Action Hero tool gives consumers a chance to become online directors.
The process is simple: Users first upload a photo of themselves, which is then modeled in 3-D using computer graphics engines. Then they select scenes, character dialogue, music options and film titles. Users then press "go," and within 12-24 hours their movie is created and can be saved, shared, posted or e-mailed.
"We want to showcase the fact that broadband services actually do enhance the richness of a person's online experience, and this feature delivers that message," Price said. "The Action Hero tool and the VerizonSurround portal provide that kind of richness and add to the excitement of a broadband connection."
The tool will be especially gratifying to customers using Verizon FiOS broadband connections at speeds of up to 50 megabits per second over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network straight into customers' homes.
To create the experience, R/GA setup a Hollywood-style, automated computer graphics studio and hooked it up to a Web site that the director can use to create his or her movie at exceptionally high-quality production values. Behind the scenes, Web 2.0, powered by Verizon broadband, takes all of the director's choices and his or her photo and produces short films that match the quality of big-budget Hollywood films in a fraction of the time.
"What better way to demonstrate the power of Verizon's broadband network than to create an experience like Action Hero," said Taras Wayner, executive creative director at R/GA. "Verizon is handing consumers the reins of a state-of-the-art, Hollywood-studio-quality animation and special-effects facility. It's like having a leading animation production company working for you for a day."
Price said, "Action Hero is more than just a novelty. It will deliver to people who make their own movies an experience they can't get from online games, video uploads or Java animations. It's total immersion in modern creative arts, made possible by the magic of broadband."
R/GA (www.rga.com), the agency for the digital age, serves Fortune 500 companies and world-class marketers such as Avaya, L'Oréal Paris, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Nokia, Subaru, and Verizon. R/GA builds brands by transforming the way people interact with them, creating engaging, user-centric experiences that have the power to change customers' perceptions.
Founded in 1977, R/GA has received the top creative awards for film, broadcast, and interactive. R/GA is part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), one of the world's largest advertising and marketing services organizations.
About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 60.7 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.