mens timberland shoes An inside look at the Tupac hologram
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The late rapper, slain in a hail of bullets in 1996, seemingly returned to life Sunday night to perform alongside fellow hip hop icons Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre.
While the shirtless Tupac, dressed in jeans and Timberland boots, might have looked real to the 100,000 stunned music fans, it was actually a hologram.
Dre, who also produced the performance, tapped a company called AV Concepts to pull off the concert stunt, which is estimated to have cost nearly $400,000.
But first he sought and got permission from Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, who watched the performance live on the Internet,
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The performance had fans abuzz.
“The screens had Tupac performing, which made you think it was an old performance. But then you actually saw the hologram on stage with Snoop, who was performing with him.”
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On Twitter, one fan wrote: “Was completely freaked out by the Tupac hologram and I’m fairly certain I was one of five people out of 100,000 not on drugs.”
The faux Tupac, whose murder at age 25 remains unsolved, performed two of his hits, “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.”
Having previously created concert holograms for Janet Jackson, Celine Dion and the Black Eyed Peas,
AV Concepts took Dr. Dre’s visualization of Tupac and made it a reality.
“Dre’s company produced the content with their partners and we consulted with them on how to create it for this technology,” says Nick Smith, president and original founder of AV Concepts.
“It’s basically an old theatrical trick that utilizes a glass like surface made out of a Mylar material. Think of it as a large giant plastic sheet that has to be stretched out the length of the stage.”
Unbeknownst to audience members, the 30 foot by 13 foot screen descended to the stage mere seconds before Snoop’s set. A high definition 3 D holographic projection system then simultaneously blasted three stacked 54,000 lumen images of Tupac on the see through screen. (For reference, a 75 watt incandescent light bulb emits 1,100 lumens.)
The image of Tupac was so clear that many audience members, like 24 year old Eddy Dallas, thought the rapper was still alive.
“Wow, it was a hologram?” said Dallas, who didn’t realize Tupac had been dead for 16 years. “It was ridiculously realistic. Unbelievable.”
According to Smith, “People don’t know what to think or how it is happening. Surprise is the biggest element of it.”
Tupac’s guest appearance certainly surprised Allie Stockton, a Los Angeles publicist at the concert.
“The hologram was so real that I kept looking over at Snoop to catch his reaction at having his buddy back on stage with him after all of this time,” she says. “He seemed happy.”
The hologram, which took nearly four months to create, even looked real on camera.
“It translated into a perfect image on the large screens that projected across the field,” recalls Stockton. “Once Tupac’s performance was over, he vanished into thin air and the entire crowd was heard sighing.”
Some critics found the back from the dead performance “creepy” and “uncomfortable,” but fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
A steady stream of callers to hip hop station WQHT (Hot 97) Monday morning raved about the hologram.
A 17 year old caller who was a year old when Tupac was killed called it “the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my life.”
Ebro Darden, longtime program director of Hot 97, said, “It was genius. This was an amazing and entertaining way to incorporate one of hip hop’s icons into a concert. Props to Coachella for bringing Pac back to life for this performance.”