TORONTO – Canadian director Shawn Levy recommends that you watch his latest film, “Real Steel,” at home with an iPad or laptop close by.
And he doesn’t mind at all if your attention is divided between one of the devices and your TV while watching the robot-boxing flick, starring Hugh Jackman and Canadians Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly and Kevin Durant.
The Blu-ray release of the film is the latest to include Second Screen bonus features, which give the user a behind-the-scenes look at the movie on a tablet or laptop while the film plays on a television.
“Guys, I have to tell you, this Second Screen stuff you gotta check it out,” Levy says on the director’s commentary track of the Blu-ray, before insisting that he truly loves the bonus feature and isn’t just shilling for the technology.
“If I was still in film school or back as someone who loves movies and wants to know how they’re made I can sincerely tell you — and again, I get nothing to gain from referring you to the Second Screen, but you have massive to gain — it’s unbelievable how much behind-the-scenes stuff (there is).
“I actually feel mildly violated because they seem to be showing you how they did everything.”
As the film is playing, photos, concept drawings, videos and other content is displayed on the user’s iPad or computer. Some of the most interesting content shows how actors wearing motion-capture suits and stilts filled in for computer-animated robots during shooting. With a tap, users can see the same scene before and after the effects were overlaid.
Users can also browse through profiles of all the different robot combatants seen in the film, and those with iPads can push content to their TV with a flick on the screen.
“Real Steel” is one of just a handful of Walt Disney Studios Canada Blu-ray releases that have included the Second Screen features but more are coming, says vice-president of product management Jonathan Hope.
“We have research that indicated upwards of 60 per cent of consumers, while they’re watching a movie on Blu-ray or DVD, are in reach of or in use of a connected device,” says Hope.
“We know consumers love bonus features, they always have, it’s always been a key component of our home releases, and with Second Screen it really allows us to take that relationship between bonus features and the film to the next level.
“It allows consumers to become deeply engaged with the film much more than they have in the past.”