Facial recognition for movie stars and sporting heroes

Written by Karl Binder on August 29, 2018

To promote NatWest’s secure app, which uses facial recognition security to tell who’s who and keep your money safe, we worked with Zenith, DCM and NatWest to create a facial recognition experience for movie-goers in cinema foyers this summer.

So, how did it go?

Mission Accomplished! The facial recognition experience appeared at multiple cinemas Nationwide. This provided an interactive exhibit for cinemagoers enjoying this year’s big summer blockbusters.

Users scanned their face to see which famous film star they could imitate in the NatWest Facial Recognition Booth.

From 20% Channing Tatum or 70% Emma Watson, cinemagoers got to experience secret agent technology. Showcasing that despite a % match, there’s only one you! The experience helped bring to life the benefits of NatWest’s Face ID log in feature on their app.

This project came about because of our previous work building technology solutions for NatWest’s cricket activations for the England Cricket Team. In 2017 we launched a Virtual Reality game with NatWest that appeared at England and T20 Blast matches throughout the summer season. Located on a stand at the matches the public could don a virtual reality headset and step onto the hallowed turf of Lords to take part in a batting challenge. But we’ve covered that in other posts so no need to harp on about that here.

Adding facial recognition technology

In early 2018 NatWest asked us to create an additional public engagement activity for the stand that promoted their new facial recognition security app by providing something simple, fun and engaging for the public. Working with NatWest and M&C Saatchi we developed an app that runs on a tablet computer to provide facial recognition. This compared the user to the England cricket teams (mens and ladies) to see which cricketer you looked most like. At events we cast a mirror of the tablet onto a big TV screen, mounted on the back of the stand. The watching public could engage with the process. Step by step the app is fairly simple; you start by choosing whether you want to compare to the mens or the ladies team. Then using the tablet camera you take a photo of yourself to be used in the recognition process. The app then connects to a web API to return percentage match scores of your face to the database of players and the results are shown on screen (the top four matches with a percentage showing how much you look like those players). The final step is to print yourself a results slip on the stand, which made use of Google Cloud Print to connect the tablet wirelessly to the printer wherever we were in the country.

Changing from cricketers to movie stars

For the movie star facial recognition the process was the same except the database of people to match to was switched from cricketers to movie stars. An additional option was added to the final stage where as well as printing the results you could have them sent to your email. We worked with DCM and Zenith to support the NatWest activation in cinemas as a spin off from the cricketer facial recognition version. This appeared at the launches for the new Mission Impossible movie.

The app has proved to be a big success both a the cricket match activations and in cinemas around the country. It was designed to be simple enough to quickly and easily be set up and used in multiple locations at once. A very basic user interface was built so that anyone could use it without needing to think about it (always the best result when designed an UI).

We look forward to working with the NatWest, DCM, Zenith and M&C Saatchi teams on future missions.

To learn more about how NatWest keeps you safe and secure Search: NatWest Security