Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Technology Behind the Tupac Hologram at Coachella

According to MTVDigital Domain is the company responsible for recreating the virtual form of Tupac, but it has also worked on Hollywood movies. Its credits including The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, in which it managed to convincingly age and de-age Brad Pitt, and Tron: Legacy, in which it shaved years off Jeff Bridges’ age. AV Concepts is responsible for actually projecting the hologram onto the stage, though it’s being careful not to reveal too many of its secrets.

The technology behind the Tupac hologram is both amazing and simplistic at the same time. The technique being used actually dates back to at least the 19th century and is called ‘Pepper’s Ghost‘, named after John Henry Pepper. While he didn’t invent the technique, Pepper popularized it and the name stuck.

The technique was first described by Giambattista della Porta in the 16th century, and Henry Dircks is known to have used it in his Dircksian Phantasmagoria performances before Pepper brought it into mainstream theaters.

In those days the Pepper’s Ghost effect, which conjures a ghostly image in one room from an actual object in another, was brought to life using a sheet of plate glass. When the glass was angled correctly and had a light source aimed at it, a realistic image was displayed to the audience without them ever seeing the source.

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