Vidiyo is Lego’s do-it-yourself music video maker, aimed at kids between the ages of seven and ten. It was created in collaboration with Universal Music Group, which has offered up around 60-second samples of big pop hits. Essentially, you buy minifigures which, when you scan them into the mobile app, unlock virtual characters to star in your music videos. These characters then dance and lip-sync along to the tracks in AR, projected into your living room. And when you’ve shot these clips, you can then share edited-down moments to a custom social feed.
As part of the process, you can also collect 2×2 tiles called BeatBits which, when scanned, unlock video and sound effects. You can use up to 12 of them at a time, which hover over the edges of the screen while you’re shooting the clips. Effects range from triggering 3D rainbows that hover over your characters, dance moves for your figures to use, and video effects. The neat thing about many of these effects is that the songs have been tweaked to suit each filter’s visuals. For instance, if you select the Tron-esque filter, the video gets a purple and pink hue and the audio gets a heavy addition of twinkly synth.
There are two types of sets you can buy: For $20, you can buy a BeatBox, which contains one figure, a “scanning stage” and 16 BeatBits. The nice thing about the BeatBox is that, when constructed, you get a nice carrying case for each figurine which acts as a shelf decoration. Round the back, too, you get carrying space for 16 BeatBits, plus a neat 2D-lego decal that you build and can use as set decoration in any videos you want to shoot. For $5, you can get a blind box — something I will admit I’m not a fan of — where you can get one of 12 additional BandMates and three random BeatBits.
The fun, however, comes when you unpack and build all of the various components here and get on with shooting the videos. It’s very much an on-rails experience, with band names chosen from pre-selected words to avoid anything naughty — my first act is called Wretched Almonds. Then you just pick a song and establish where your floor is for the AR projection to begin, trying to time the effects with the song as best possible.
Lego, keenly aware of its responsibilities to both young people and the adults who care for them, has added a tightly-moderated social component to Vidiyo. If you want to upload a video to its platform, you need to make sure there are no visible faces, or personal details. When uploaded and approved, these very short clips can be shared outside of the app, too.
Lego has already said that a new track will be added to the app every other week, with a better mix of genres coming. Expect K-pop, hip-hop and rock to get some more love and attention, as the catalog grows closer to 50 tracks by the end of 2021. Not that you’ll run out of content to chew through yet, since I’ve spent hours trying to get the band to dance perfectly to Celeste’s “Stop This Flame.”
Of course, there’s an unspoken tension, as an adult writing about a Lego set, to try and tie this to some educational goal. If you’re wondering what the edu-tainment goals of this set are, then perhaps it’s to empower children toward the creative arts, much like “real” Lego does for engineering. But fundamentally, this is a set of toys engineered more for silly fun than it is any higher aim of just having fun, so don’t overthink it.
Lego Vidiyo is available to buy from March 1st.
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