I’m sure most of us have seen the footage of Tupac’s now famous, even historic, holographic performance at Coachella 2012 over the weekend. If you haven’t , then you really should, Tupac fan or not, because we’re about to see a lot more of it, and not just with recreations of dead musicians.
Apart from the fact that it looks like he’s performing on an airport moving walkway, the realism of the hologram was pretty mind-blowing. But the truth is that it wasn’t the same type of sci-fi 3D hologram that you might see in Star Wars, but in fact a 2D projection using a clever trick invented in the 1800s.
In a nutshell, an animation is bounced off sheets of film onto another transparent glass sheet on the stage that gives the appearance of the animation being right next to other objects or people on the stage.
The 3D-like projection technology has been around for a few years now, and has even been used several times before. Damon Albarn mentioned in an interview last year about problems he had using the technology with Gorillaz, saying it can’t work in a live environment, because as soon as you get any vibrations from instruments or movement from the crowd, the screen you reflect onto shakes and disturbs the hologram.
A video from 2009 has emerged showing the technology, and hinting at the uses it might have, including what would probably end up being the inevitable use for it – advertising.