The nation’s biggest-selling regional daily is trialling an innovation which transforms printed photographs into videos in its newspaper.
The Express & Star, Wolverhampton, is experimenting with augmented reality technology, which enables smartphone users to turn newspaper photos into moving images on its pages.
Now the E&S has featured augmented reality in a piece on fashion designer and illustrator Elizabeth Ilsley which was run to celebrate 100 Masters, a campaign to promote artists and creative people from the Black Country.
When viewed through a special app on a smartphone, readers were able to see interactive animations which appeared over the page.
Deputy editor Diane Davies said: “We were initially introduced to the idea of augmented reality at the end of last year by Creative Black Country who we work closely with regarding coverage of the arts in the region.
“They asked us to publicise the 100 Masters campaign, which we were happy to do, and then demonstrated augmented reality to myself and digital editor Mike Woods asking whether we would be interested in trialling it in the Express & Star as part of the 100 Masters project.
“We jumped at the idea. The thought of additional content jumping out of our pages was very exciting.”
The innovation has been compared to fictional newspaper ‘The Daily Prophet’, found in the Harry Potter series of books and films, which is read by wizards and features moving images instead of still pictures.
E&S reporter Doug Wootton is coordinating the paper’s 100 Masters editorial coverage and has worked closely with the developers on the project.
Liam Smyth, 100 Masters creative producer, said: “This is an exciting first, as we have worked in collaboration with the Express & Star, the country’s biggest regional newspaper, to bring artwork into thousands of households across the West Midlands.
“This is what the future of media looks like and, as ever, the Black Country are leading the way in revolutionising the way we make, see and do things.”
In December 2014, the Newbury Weekly News was thought to have been the first regional paper to pioneer the technology when it experimented with a 3D Father Christmas feature.