Cue the lights, start the music, and get ready to jam!
LEGO Vidiyo, a new product line from LEGO designed for kids ages 7 and up, blends popular music, augmented reality (AR) tech, and a lineup of wacky LEGO lego characters for a play experience that is equal parts creative, technology-based, and hands-on.
In a nutshell, kids use the Vidiyo app to create music videos featuring AR, LEGO mini-figure bandmates as the performers, and using the world around them as the backdrop. First, kids scan their physical mini-figures to unlock them within the app. The mini-figure band members (who each take inspiration from a different style of music or visual style) also come with small, plastic squares called “beatbits” to scan. Each beatbit corresponds to a fun audio or visual AR effect, which kids can use along with the AR versions of their band members to customize their music videos. The beatbits offer a wide range of effects — from turning the music to kazoos to making the entire scene rain or suddenly dressing all of the band members in chicken costumes.
While the Vidiyo app is a major component of the play experience, the physical LEGO products are the real basis for this toy line. There are two types of mini-figure sets in the line: Bandmates and Beatboxes. The Bandmates are the smaller (and more affordable) sets. They are blind-boxed and come with a mini-figure and three beatbits. In the first series, there are 12 different Bandmates to collect. The Beatboxes, meanwhile, are larger sets that are clearly labeled with the character who is inside. The set not only comes with a character and 16 beatbits, but it also features a carrying case that kids can build and customize with the included pieces. The carrying case opens on two sides: one to act as a stage/platform to place the character and beatbits to scan them; the other as storage for extra pieces and unused beatbits.
There is a lot to discover within the app, which is free to download and does offer some limited features without any physical product. Kids can create multiple bands of up to three characters, generating a fun band name and customizing everything from the band photo to the arrangement that the band members stand in to perform. The characters themselves are customizable, too, including their hair and outfits. The more characters that kids scan in and the more they do in the app, the more customization options they unlock.
After creating the band of their dreams, kids can enjoy creating endless music videos. The app features plenty of detailed instructions — including a rotation of illustrated safety tips — that walk kids through the process. But, basically, kids decide which of their bands they will use in the video, along with the song that their band will perform. The song selection is truly one of the highlights of this product — LEGO developed Vidiyo in partnership with Universal Music Group, so the library of tunes (which LEGO plans to regularly expand) features popular songs, such as “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers, “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd, and “Me!” by Taylor Swift.
Then, before they can start filming, kids have to scan in the physical version of one character in their band, along with the beatbits they want to use within the video. Scanning a character before every single video does, admittedly, get a bit tedious (especially if kids struggle to get the lighting or camera focus to be exactly right). However, it is an important step because the beatbits really set the tone and determine the possibilities for the video, so curating the perfect set is a fun, creative challenge. As they film the music video, kids can activate and deactivate each of the effects by tapping them on the screen. Because this toy is designed for older kids, most will be able to tap the beatbit effects with their thumbs while holding the phone, or hold the phone with one hand while tapping on effects with the other. However, putting the device on a tripod or another type of stand will make the experience even easier for small hands!
Once they scan in their beatbits, kids choose an area to film their video. Another strong feature of the app is that kids can choose from three sizes for their AR bandmates. If kids are limited in physical space, they can put the bandmates in micro mode, which makes the AR versions about the same size as the real figures. In the medium size, which is best for filming in a room, the AR characters appear to be about the size of a human. Finally, for kids who are filming in wide-open spaces, there is a jumbo size!
After filming their minute-long video and utilizing the beatbit effects to make it their own, kids can save their video to the gallery. Then, they can choose a 5-, 10-, or 20-second clip from that video to share on the Vidiyo social feed. Every shared video gets moderated before posting to ensure the clip doesn’t feature any people or break any other content regulations, which makes the app a safe space for kids. Of course, there is no requirement to share the videos at all!
Within the “social” tab on the Vidiyo app, kids can see other users’ video creations — which they can filter by different tags that describe the video, such as “LOL,” “dance,” “weekend fun,” or “oops” — and like or comment (using only a selection of emojis) on those videos.
This is truly only the most basic description of the Vidiyo experience, which has so much to explore, including challenges that kids can take on to keep unlocking more content!
Overall, the app certainly encourages creativity and utilizes AR capabilities in a smart way. The available music library is a huge upside, as is the price point, which ranges from $5.99-19.99. Plus, the constantly updated music library and rotating challenges mean that kids can continue to find new and innovative ways to interact with Vidiyo, long after they first unbox their bandmates!