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This article was published on February 27, 2014

Livefyre pushes the limits of its technology with Oscars red carpet photo booth that tweets for fans

Livefyre pushes the limits of its technology with Oscars red carpet photo booth that tweets for fans

The Academy Awards’ #MyOscarPhoto campaign, powered by Livefyre and Twitter, offers a good look at the power of Livefyre’s platform and its ability to use technology and social media to connect fans with their favorite celebrities.

Award shows are becoming a prime site for testing offline-to-online social integrations. Twitter, for instance, has been taking its 360-degree Vine booth and Twitter Mirror around to red carpet events like the Golden Globes and the Grammys. Livefyre is upping the stakes at this year’s Academy Awards.

When it debuts this Sunday, the #MyOscarPhoto booth will take selfies tweeted by fans, display them at a rate of 10 images per second next to a celebrity, snap a photo with a slow motion camera, and then tweet it back out to individuals. It’s a clever trick that gives users a neat point of contact with a movie star while using technology to make the experience seamless for the performer.

The sheer ambition of the setup got our attention, so we chatted with Livefyre CEO Jordan Kretchmer to learn more about how Livefyre built the booth.

“It’s definitely the most interesting thing I’ve ever worked on,” Kretchmer said, adding that it was also the most intensive.

To build the booth, Livefyre tapped its StreamHub platform to aggregate all the user photos from Twitter. It then reworked an Image Gallery app to enable it to stream those photos onto a TV in 10-second bursts at 10 frames per second. An algorithm then uses histogram analysis to take the resulting video file and chop it up into frames for each user. Each image is then rematched with the metadata from users’ original tweets and combined with the celebrity’s name. In the final step, human moderators double-check the automated work before approving the images to go back out as tweets.

The whole interaction is hardly deep social engagement, but it is perfectly situated to delight users.

Livefyre’s focus on creating scalable realtime infrastructure for real-world events is paying off. The startup certainly has experience with scale, now that it hosts over 2 billion page views a month, but #MyOscarPhoto is the most ambitious custom project yet for the company’s platform.

The implementation might get reused at future events, like the Country Music Awards, but Kretchmer said he’s more interested in using the project to showcase the kinds of custom real-time streaming applications that can be built on Livefyre’s infrastructure. According to him, the company built the installation in just two weeks.

“I think we’ll start to see a lot of other interesting use cases like this that aren’t exactly this execution,” he added.

As social media becomes an increasingly important part of mainstream events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars, firms like Livefyre are establishing the infrastructure required to bridge the offline and online worlds. Even if faux celebrity selfies aren’t your thing, the #MyOscarPhoto campaign offers an interesting glimpse at the future of social.

Image credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images

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