Vidiyo is Lego’s do-it-yourself music video maker for ages seven to ten. It was created in collaboration with Universal Music Group, which offered around 60 seconds of samples of top pop hits. Essentially, you are purchasing action figures which when you scan them into the mobile app unlock virtual characters to play in your video clips. These characters then dance and synchronize to the AR songs, projected in your living room. And when you’ve shot those clips, you can then share edited moments to a personalized 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 as you shoot the clips. Effects range from triggering 3D rainbows that fly over your characters, to dance moves your characters can use, and video effects. What’s special about many of these effects is that the songs have been edited to suit the visuals of each filter. For example, if you select the Tron-esque filter, the video takes on a purple and pink tint and the audio receives a strong addition of glittery synth.
There are two types of sets you can buy: For $ 20 you can buy a BeatBox, which contains a figure, a “sweep step” and 16 BeatBits. The good thing about the BeatBox is that, once built, you get a nice carrying case for each figure that serves as a shelf decoration. On the back, you also have transport space for 16 BeatBits, plus a 2D-lego decal that you build that you can use as a backdrop decoration in any videos you want to film. For $ 5 you can get a Blind Box – something I have to admit I’m not a fan of – where you can get one of the 12 additional BandMates and three random BeatBits.
The fun, however, comes when you unpack and build all of the different components here and keep shooting the videos. It’s really a rail experience, with band names chosen from shortlisted words to avoid anything bad – my first act is called Wretched Almonds. Then you just need to pick a song and establish where your floor is for the AR projection to begin, trying to best sync the effects with the song.
Lego, fully aware of its responsibilities to young people and the adults who care for them, added a very moderate social component to Vidiyo. If you want to upload a video to its platform, you need to make sure that there are no visible faces or personal details. Once uploaded and approved, these very short clips can also be shared outside of the app.
Lego has already said that a new track will be added to the app every two weeks, with a better mix of genres to come. Expect K-pop, hip-hop, and rock to garner more love and attention, as the catalog nears 50 titles by the end of 2021. Not that you miss it chewy content, as I spent hours trying to make the band dance perfectly to Celeste’s “Stop This Flame”.
Of course, there is an unspoken tension, as an adult writing on a Lego set, to try and tie that to an educational goal. If you are wondering what the edutainment goals of this set are, perhaps it is to enable children to acquire creative arts, much like the “real” Lego for engineering. But basically, this is a set of toys designed more for silly fun than some higher purpose of just having fun, so don’t overthink it.
Lego Vidiyo is available for purchase from March 1.