There’s a whole lotta hologram shakin’ going on these days. After the success of Tupac Shakur’s “appearance” at Coachella, it seems that a lot of other estates are looking to get in on the act. Elvis Presley will get the virtual treatment by Digital Domain, the same company that manufactured Shakur’s image. Digital Domain plans on creating the Presley hologram for shows, film and TV, as well as other events. The company has received the nod from Elvis Presley Enterprises, who said “his lifelong fans will be thrilled all over again and new audiences will discover the electric experience of Elvis the performer.”
Presley is not the only “virtual” artist under consideration. Experience Hendrix is in discussion with the London-based Musion Systems to create one for Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix’s sister, Janie, is the president/CEO of Experience Hendrix, and she said in an interview with Music Radar: “it’s about keeping Jimi authentically correct. There are no absolutes at this point.” Meanwhile, the Doors manager Jeff Jampol has also been working on an idea to present a “virtual” Jim Morrison concert. “We’re trying to get to a point where 3D characters will walk around,” he said, interviewed for the same Music Radar story. “Hopefully, ‘Jim Morrison’ will be able to walk right up to you, look you in the eye, sing right at you and then turn around and walk away.”
That may be possible, as long as no one trips over the cables. You see, the hologram for Shakur was actually an optical illusion technique known as “Pepper’s Ghost.” The technique is named after John Henry Pepper, who popularized the effect of seeming to appear, disappear, become transparent or morph into another object. The technique involves using plate glass and special lighting techniques. The Shakur illusion was created with high-quality computer rendering and a special Mylar foil screen, instead of glass. The hologram was created by projecting a high-quality digital rendering of Shakur onto the foil. So in essence, it wasn’t a hologram but CGI – computer-generated imagery on a screen.
It’s also very expensive CGI. The price for the Shakur creation was estimated to be between $100,000 and $400,000. However, it’s a small price to pay when you consider the long term marketing benefits to the estates of deceased performers.
Personally, I think the first Presley hologram should be singing, “It’s only make believe.”
What do you think of this technique? Would you pay money to see a virtual performance? Which artists would you like resurrected? Let us know below.
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Elvis Presley hologram follows likeness of Tupac
on Jun 14, 2012