The biggest sensation at last weekend’s Coachella Music Festival in California was a beyond-the-grave performance by late rapper Tupac, made possible by advanced projection technology. More than 100,000 amazed fans saw a projected Tupac performing on stage alongside Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, thanks to Musion Eyeliner technology from technology solutions provider AV Concepts.
Musion Eyeliner, which IE has reported on previously, uses a variant of the ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ illusion: the image is projected onto the floor and reflected off a near-invisible foil hung at a 45º angle to the stage. The 1920x1080 image was produced by three stacked projectors, delivering a total of 54,000 lumens. The foil, which measured 30ft by 13ft (9.1m x 4.0m) was customised by AV Concepts so that it could be quickly lowered onto the stage between sets of the performance.
“This show was by far one of the most exciting yet challenging projects we have ever worked on,” said Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts – which is Musion’s biggest North American licensee. “A highly choreographed, live, outdoor holographic production of this magnitude with hundreds of thousands of people watching gave us the added incentive, and pressure, to deliver.”
The performance was not simply footage of a performance shot during the rapper’s lifetime. Following an approach by Dr Dre it was specially generated for the event by visual production house Digital Domain (founded by film director James Cameron). At one point, Tupac mentions Coachella – an event that dates from after his death. “This is not based on archival footage,” Ed Ulbrich, chief creative officer at Digital Domain, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “This is not him performing at some point. This a completely original, exclusive performance only for Coachella and that audience.”
While frequently referred to as holographic projection, this technique is different from holography, which produces a 3D image that changes with the observer’s angle of view. While Musion Eyeliner produces a lifelike, life-size image, it is a 2D one.
According to press reports, discussions are under way to take the virtual Tupac on tour.
To view the video and other similar projects from Musion, visit the Installation Europe YouTube channel.