Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What was the deal with Hologram Tupac?

So I hate to be a total geek here and ruin it for you - but that's kinda my deal.  While impressive, the realistic image of Tupac performing along side Snoop and Dre was not a hologram.  Holograms are 3D, Tupac was a 2D image that was projected using technology first developed in the 1800's. That's right, the technology that impressed so many of us this week has been around for almost two hundred years.

 From The Wall Street Journal:
The effect was first used in an 1862 dramatization of Charles Dickens' novella "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain," staged at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in London, according to Jim Steinmeyer, an illusion designer who has written extensively about the history of his craft, including Pepper's Ghost.
The effect relies on an angled piece of glass in which a "ghostly" image is reflected. "A piece of glass can be both transparent and reflective at the same time, depending on how it's situated relative to the audience," said Mr. Steinmeyer, pointing out the secret.
In the Victorian version of the trick, the glass reflected an actual actor, situated out of sight in near the orchestra. On Sunday night, the image was projected on a piece of Mylar—a highly reflective, lightweight plastic—stretched on a clear frame.

Originally the "Pepper's Ghost" trick used a real, live actor or object  that was reflected from off stage.  The big 21st century difference here is that Tupac's performance was completely fabricated.  Digital Domain Media Group, the people responsible for the differently aged appearances of Brad Pitt's  character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button created this Tupac from scratch. It wasn't old performance film that they projected, but a completely "new" animated Tupac. That's definitely 21st century tech.

You can watch the performance here.  Warning:  NSFW or kids.

Now there's talk of Dre and Snoop Dogg taking virtual Tupac on tour.  It seems the future of music is dead.

What do you think?  Was it cool? Creepy?  Both?  Let us know in the comments.

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