Microsoft shows how you tell stories with HoloLens

Actiongram lets you create augmented reality tales without a lick of visual effects experience.

When Microsoft started taking pre-orders for its HoloLens developer headset, it teased a digital storytelling app named Actiongram. But what is it, exactly, and how does it work? The folks in Redmond are finally ready to explain. In a detailed blog post, Microsoft has revealed that Actiongram is all about letting you create short, effects-laden mixed-reality videos without having to know a thing about 3D graphics. You just have to pick characters and props, place them in the world, and tell your tale. It's not particularly elaborate, but it shows how augmented reality apps can simplify this kind of creativity -- a video that would take days of compositing work could be wrapped up in an afternoon.

Right now, access to Actiongram outside of Microsoft is limited to a handful of the "world's best social storytellers." The company is working on a closed beta test program, though, so you might have a shot if you happen to have both the $3,000 HoloLens unit and a penchant for fun. Also, Microsoft notes that this is just the start. It took five people just half a year to create Actiongram. Hopefully, any future home version of the headgear will have more powerful creative tools on hand.