AR Filters Are Coming to Video Calls on Facebook and Instagram

Bigger, better, and smarter AR filters and effects are coming our way!

Facebook recently revealed a new Spark AR feature that enables AR video call filters, opening up a number of opportunities in the AR space.

Read on to learn about the announcement and the exciting ways creators can virtually connect with their audience.

What are AR Effects on Instagram and Facebook?

If you’ve spent any time scrolling Instagram Stories, you’ve likely encountered Spark AR effects.

Spark AR is the largest mobile AR platform in the world, with more than 600,000 creators from 190 countries having published over 2 million AR effects on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’ve ever participated in a “which cartoon character are you” filter or posted a selfie where your eyes change color on Instagram, you’ve used Spark AR.

They’ve taken over Instagram Stories — and for good reason. They’re a fun, easy, and creative way to build community and bring awareness to your brand.

Take Later’s LaterCon AR filters for example.

LaterCon AR Filter

Later’s AR filter was an easy way to build a sense of community for guests attending the virtual event while also increasing our brand’s visibility.

AR Effects Are Coming to Video Calls 

In an effort to increase community and connection, AR filters are coming to Instagram and Facebook video calls. 

Announced at F8 Refresh, the new feature “allows creators to build effects that deliver a coordinated experience across multiple call participants.”

AR Filters in Video Calls

Source: Facebook

With accelerated digital events over the past year, the new feature aims to help creators coordinate shared experiences with their audience through effects that use a variety of objects, segmentation, and sounds.

Over the last year, the Facebook team has been exploring and investing in new ways AR can “help people feel a stronger sense of presence and togetherness when they’re otherwise physically apart.”

And the most exciting development to come out for F8 this year in the AR space, is the introduction of dynamic and engaging AR filters through video calling.

But what does this mean for brands? 

With Facebook opening its doors to create a new beta community of AR creators and designers, Instagram and Facebook will soon see a new wave of AR effects and filters to try.

Some mega-brands like Summer Fridays and Rayban have already jumped on the use of AR Filters for brand awareness and discovery.

AR Filter Summer Friday Rayban

E-commerce-focused AR filters are only just starting to take off, with makeup brands like Benefit and Mac Cosmetics creating filters where people can virtually try on their products and get as close to experiencing the product IRL as possible in the virtual space.

BEnefit AR Filters

And when it comes to video calls, AR filters give brands the opportunity to bring creative, visual experience to their community in a live setting.

That could be in the form of one-to-many Instagram Live events, or smaller, more intimate Facebook Rooms where guests are invited to join by the host.

And Facebook is referring to this latest announcement as “a fundamental shift.”

“It’s a shift that will help move AR from a single user, single-screen experience to a multi-user, multi-screen experience — and ultimately, unlock incredible new use cases for group AR effects.”

According to Facebook, these new capabilities are currently only available on Messenger.  However, with the integration of the Multipeer API, these AR effects will soon be available for video calling on Instagram and Portal.

How Creators Can Get Involved 

Facebook is looking to build a global community of AR creators, which is why they’re opening up the beta for everyone to get involved.

“As part of the beta, you’ll receive access to new tooling and capabilities that will allow you to build and publish AR effects for video calling. Additionally, we’ll be providing templates, documentation, tutorials, coaching, and more.”

Follow this link to apply to be included in the next wave of beta testers specifically bringing AR to live video calls.

And if creating your very own AR filters is out of scope, that’s okay. With the new capabilities, it means there will be many new and fun effects coming your way soon.

Even if it’s just using them in your Instagram Stories, AR effects have the ability to transform how people and businesses communicate virtually through a coordinated space.

It seems this is only the beginning for AR effects on Instagram and Facebook — so be sure to watch this space.

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Written By

Jessica Worb

Jessica is a creative problem solver and a content writer. Jessica is from Winnipeg, a city smack dab in the middle of Canada — but is currently living and working remotely in Paris, France. Follow along at @jessicaworb.

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