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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can Yoostar Spark a Movie Karaoke Craze?

Next month, Yoostar will start selling a $169 system that includes a camera, green screen, and software that will put you into well-known movie scenes. Once the automagic compositing is done, you can share the resulting video with friends on Facebook or other sites. (It's like blending the offline ego trip of karaoke with the online ego trip of social networking!)

From Variety's coverage:

    Five studios -- Paramount, Universal, MGM, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate -- have partnered with the company, as have the National Basketball Assn. and Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street" franchise. The package will ship with 14 clips (11 from films, one from "Sesame Street" and two "moving backgrounds," which allow users to improvise a scene).

    Included are single scenes from pics as old as "Double Indemnity" (1944) and "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) and as recent as 2006's "Rocky Balboa" and "Employee of the Month." The original "Terminator" and "Beverly Hills Cop 2" are also in the starter pack.

    While it resists being called a game, YooStar is relying on the same good will that consumers have shown the vidgame industry for success. The service carries a pricetag many may consider steep in the current economy. Additional scenes via download are priced between 99¢ and $3.99. (The company hopes to have 200 downloadable scenes available at launch.)

(The game Rock Band, incidentally, has sold more than 40 million song downloads since its release -- so this actually could be an interesting new revenue stream for rights-holders... if it takes off.)

Forbes has more coverage. Here are two videos, the first a demo of the system, and the second a look at what the results can look like, starring Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association.

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