Seeing (And Hearing) Into the Future

“Wow, it was a hologram?” was what many amazed fans asked on April 15, 2012.

Coachella fans were stunned when a 3D projection of legendary rapper Tupac was brought to life before their eyes. This was an effort that cost anywhere between $100,000 and-400,000. It’s often regarded as the “Tupac Hologram” but it’s not technically a hologram. Tupac was “brought to life” using a technique that has been around since the 1860s called “Pepper’s Ghost” The generated Tupac even addressed the crowd and performed with another rapper, Snoop Dogg. This performance went viral and caught the attention of music fans everywhere. The company that put this on was Pulse Evolution Corp., and they would go on to do other artist projections, though none more famous than Tupac’s.

This wasn’t the first time (or the last) that an artist has been recreated posthumously. In 2007, Celine Dion performed with a hologram of Elvis Presley. This was done on the show American Idol and “If I Can Dream” was the song performed. Presley’s performance was recreated using HD videos of him performing in the past and a scan of his face. In 2019, Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley would go on to say she is in support of a 3D tour someday but said that the technology wasn’t quite there yet. But now in 2022, maybe the technology is there.

ABBA is a band that formed in the 1970s and is still releasing music in 2022. The band is going on tour for 7 months, but the members aren’t actually going to be there. The “ABBAtars” are. The group hasn’t performed in front of a crowd for 41 years, but over the course of 5 weeks, they performed while being captured digitally. The actual members wore motion capture suits (that look straight from Tron: Legacy) and performed multiple times and the footage will be pieced together to complete the perfect set. Between 500 and 1,000 visual effects, artists have contributed to the performance.  While the digital recreations are performing, a 10-piece band will be playing the music remotely, but they will be in real-time.

What ABBA is trying to accomplish is a marvelous feat of technology. It will give the fans an experience that they have never seen before and does not have the same limitations as their real-life counterparts do. The Gorillaz in 2010 had a virtual performance that blew fans away at the time and technology has just advanced since then. There have been numerous holograms or projections of artists over the past 2 decades. Are you interested in attending a concert performed by holograms? It may be the future.