While we bemoan the use of phones (and now – bizarrely – tablets) during a film at the cinema home entertainment viewing has long sought to embrace the second screen, to make it more than just a cursory glance at IMDb to find out exactly where you’ve seen that sodding actor before… (It’s usually Casualty).
This new Beyond the Screen app is essentially a host of DVD extras which uses the microphone to sync up the flow of trivia, soundtrack facts and bodycount stats to the movie as you watch it. Given the scope of what’s possible with the app, and the ease of use with a great UI, there is huge potential for this to become the go-to movie trivia app.
Beginning with Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy is a master stroke as there is a treasure trove of production trivia, hidden easter eggs and references (obscure and otherwise) in each of the films. Not to mention that they are very good films, and each have a high rewatchability factor perfect for this second screen experience. As I’ve said the UI is exactly as it needs to be: obvious to use and easy to navigate once you’re in the thick of it. There is a handy ‘freezer’ in which to store the various facts and moments you enjoy the most and the stats screen, which updates while synced up to the film, is a lot of fun to glance at.
Obviously we approach any notion of a second screen experience with trepidation, but there’s a great deal of fun to be had here. You won’t want to use this for the first ever viewing of a film but it’s exactly the blend of usable app and genuinely interesting content which makes a repeat viewing that much more fun.
What’s next for the app? At the moment there are these three films, and they are more than enough to get your teeth into. However there is a great opportunity here to use the app as a content delivery system which would include audio (an exclusive commentary would shift this app by the bucketload) and video (likewise an alternate ending which plays out on the tablet at the right time) with constant updates – it’s a great start to something which many movie fans will enjoy.
You can get started straight away by downloading the app here and you might as well start with Shaun of the Dead on Picturebox right now.