Mixed reality filmmaking isn't a new concept. Disney managed to make it work in 1988 with Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but not without an enormous amount of work. We haven't seen many mixed reality films of that scope since, and perhaps that's because it's still hard to accomplish. Filmmakers don't look through a viewfinder or monitor and see the fully rendered result on screen—but that can change with mixed reality headsets like the HoloLens.
Microsoft saw this opportunity and created ActionGram, a tool that helps anyone with a HoloLens make a movie with 3D characters mixed right in. While only available to select YouTubers, the medium has already grown from silly little clips to short films.
"Astrowalk", the video below, demonstrates a clever little 20-second clip that shows an astronaut exploring space—except space turns out to be a bubble bath. It's a cute demonstration, but obviously not a substantial one.
"The Unicorn" (below) starts to take mixed reality filmmaking into bigger territory. While less a short film and more of a comedy sketch with a young man and a holographic unicorn, it has a story and character.
"The Treat" by Noah Eichen, below, shows size is no issue for mixed reality filmmaking.
We're most likely never going to see a feature film come out of Actiongram, but it demonstrates how swiftly one can create mixed reality entertainment. What was almost assuredly an insane amount of work in the '80s is almost trivial with the HoloLens. If you take a look at the below video, in which Actiongram's best shooting practices are explained, you'll see how the HoloLens does the majority of the heavy lifting so creators can focus on the content.
It'll take some time for mixed reality film to really grow, but once consumers have their hands on the HoloLens and other headsets, we're likely to see a shift in filmmaking that involves many more holographic actors.