April 17, 2012

Help Me Tupac Shakur, You Are My Only Hope

A week after Easter Sunday, a different sort of resurrection took place at the Coachella music festival out in Palm Springs. Rapper Tupac Shakur was brought back from the dead as a "hologram" that was projected onto the stage of the festival where he performed a song that stunned the audience.  

When I first heard about this, I was skeptical thinking that the majority of the audience at Coachella is already in a somewhat altered state and could easily mistake some smoke and mirrors for an act of God. But having seen a few versions of the video (one posted below), it truly is stunning and, even more remarkable, it is an entirely digital recreation of the rapper and not a digitzation of archival footage. 

Digital Domain, the company responsible for this technological marvel, has admitted that the image is not actually a hologram but a projection onto a glass screen that was onstage but appears invisible. (This same trick, dating from the 19th century magic shows and known as Pepper's Ghost, can currently be seen on Broadway in the musical GHOST, of course!)  There are now rumors today that Dr. Dre, who conceived the whole Tupac stunt, will be taking this virtual star on tour across the country. Will people pay to come see the resurrected rapper? I would say yes as it truly is a remarkable and bit of digital wizardry. 

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