Original Story Published on TheVerge.com: Tupac's Coachella 'performance' is equal parts amazing, tacky, and macabre
As expected, last night a hologram of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur wowed crowds at Coachella, and now a video of the spectacle has surfaced on YouTube. It's a tall order, reanimating corpses, but the performance of Tupac's "Hail Mary" was incredibly lifelike. So how was it done?
The performance reportedly used the same technology that enabled Mariah Carey to perform a concert in five cities simultaneously. Executing the Carey illusion relied on both modern day techniques and an old magician's trick dating back to the 19th Century. First, a video was composed by New York SFX company MPC using a mixture of live footage, wire-framing, and CGI. This was then fed into Musion's holographic technology, which projects the image onto a special foil.
The foil is based on principles set out in the old magician's illusion Pepper's Ghost, which trick audiences into thinking they're viewing a person or object rather than a simple reflection. By using a lightweight foil which mimics the properties of semi-transparent glass, Musion is able to extend the concept's scale without limiting the efficacy of the illusion. The results, as you can see in the video below, are pretty spectacular.
There's also the question of taste. While the Mariah Carey concert was obviously agreed on by the artist, how could Tupac be complicit in last night's performance? You have to wonder if it's ethically right to have a deceased artist endorse an event in this way — having Tupac shout "what the f--- is up Coachella" doesn't sit quite right with us.
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