Holographic Technologies Music – The holograms on tour are, from left, Maria Callas, Tupac Shakur, Roy Orbison and now Whitney Houston. Photo: Getty Images
With the announcement of Whitney Houston’s 3D tour, the race is on to create high-tech concerts just like the real thing.
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The Beatles live at the Cavern, Ziggy Stardust’s final show at the Hammersmith Apollo, or Jimi Hendrix on the Isle of Wight: all these momentous performances will soon await even fans who weren’t born when they happened. The late Whitney Houston announced last week that the singer would tour in holographic form, kicking off a technological race to deliver the most realistic live experience to concertgoers.
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Unsavory accusations can still haunt these ventures – and sometimes undermine them, as with the suspension of Amy Winehouse’s Hologram Tour earlier this year. But for developers rushing to bring new age effects to life, it seems the only important issue is how good it looks.
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The live experience, which uses “volumetric capture” holograms as well as virtual reality and immersive theater, begins this week, not only opposite the Whitney but also an alternative holographic performance by opera diva Maria Callas, who will return soon after the last holographic tour. . The company behind this year’s event, Base Hologram, also brought Roy Orbison back with Buddy Holly in the UK in October, while rivals Eyeillusion, founded in 2015, have completed a series of Frank Zappa dates.
“The main thing for me is the integration of technology with my music,” says Wayne, 75.
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From live shows to computer games, there have been many iterations since I wrote it, but everything I do I try to use the latest special effects technology. But it must remain true to the extraordinary story written by HG Wells. That’s how I think you create something of value.”
Wayne argues that the result is “quite a surreal experience”, and, as he points out, he has a track record here, recreating the late Richard Burton for the first stage show based on Wayne’s album 13 years ago. “Of course, there are always ethical questions, but in our case in 2006, his widow, Sally Burton, was completely supportive,” he said.
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Whether all these special effects count as “real” holograms is up for debate. Strictly speaking, holograms are 3D images caused by the interference of light beams, but the emergence of artificial intelligence systems such as machine learning has blurred this distinction. When Tupac Shakur, the late rapper, was resurrected at the Coachella festival in California in 2012, experts suggested that this was actually a projection onto an angled sheet of plastic, a variation of an optical trick known to Victorian society. The 2D technique known as the “ghost illusion” or “Pepper’s Ghost” was first perfected by London engineer Henry Dirks and scientist John Henry Pepper. Creative technology expert Carl Guinet, who worked on the Harry Potter franchise, helped Wayne create the new experience and advised us to be careful when using the word “hologram.”
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“In our show, we go beyond what people have seen before with volumetric capture which involves capturing 30 frames per second and then using computer algorithms to blend them into the video,” he said. “It’s still about tricking the eye, like the ‘ghost illusion’ of the 1800s, and we use this simple effect as part of our show to pay homage to the Victorians. But what we created is an environment that you can walk through like a giant ‘holodeck’. Even our hologram eyes can follow you.”
Viewers in the strange world of Frank Zappa’s Eye Illusion see similar projections, although Baez claims that the technology, used in collaboration with the late singer’s sister Pat to create An Evening with Whitney, will be more akin to a full 3D image, with full images. band, backing singers and dancers. Whitney’s failed attempt to create a hologram avatar four years ago with another company, Hologram USA, and to the dismay of some fans, showed how important it is to get the image right.
The huge profits from concert tickets may have pushed pop and rock ahead of the hologram race, but last week the Egyptian government announced that tourists will be able to meet the rising King Tutankhamun by the end of next year, rather than just glimpse him. Artifacts At the same time, French bank BNP announced this month that some of its financial transactions will now be handled by holographic surrogates of its team members. Already being trialled in London, a system called Magic Leap, developed with a company called Mimesys, is being rolled out.
“Holograms are definitely where things are headed,” Guynett said. “Soon this technology will be everywhere. Not just concert halls. In five years’ time, people will have it in their homes and now we will be able to ‘teleport’ ourselves via hologram to communicate with others like on Facetime .”
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For Gennaro Castaldo from the British Phonographic Institute, the position of the music industry in cyberspace is very interesting. He believes that promoters will continue to see the benefits of reviving artists and that this will be good for their back catalogue. But he has some caveats: “It has to look authentic. There’s a fine line between what might sound impressive and blow you away, and what will ultimately turn fans off. Additionally, while we have seen a fairly positive response to hologram tours and events to date, we will have to wait a while to assess the long-term growth potential, the point at which holograms become part of the world’s ecosystem. live music experience’. “
Meanwhile, Castaldo can imagine a future when, using human imagination, this technology will allow us to watch a young Mozart perform.
, had another cautionary thought: “We don’t want to let technology get in the way of the soul. It has to be just one element. And as an Orbison fan I’m not sure I’d see him do the whole show yet. Maybe, if they rewatch it.” can interact. For now I’m happy with the music.” “It’s a concert, but it’s more than just a concert,” explained a fan of the Zappa Hologram concert experience.
A concert by the rock iconoclast in Huntington, New York, had all the features that nerdy fans would think of for doo-wop intro music the night before the show’s guitar player, but with one important problem: Frank Zappa died in 1993. The mustachioed musician was at the center of it all, playing alongside former members of Zappa’s band, not a real person. It’s a hologram.
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To be fair, the apparition really does look like an otherworldly version of Frank as he strums his guitar, straightens his shirt, and twirls his mustache. It also sounds similar, as the audio comes from a well-worn 1974 live recording. It was enough of a spectacle that the people present gave him a standing ovation. “At first I felt a little sad,” said a fan named Annelie Indila after the show. “I was a little choked up for a moment, because he wasn’t there anymore, but I really liked him. This is very unusual. It was very well done. “
The show sold out, and the rest of the tour also sold out well, with people paying as much as $125 per ticket. Likewise, Roy Orbison’s Hologram Tour last year was a financial success, selling an average of 1,800 seats per show. There’s enough demand that there are more dates for the tour — the Orbisons will tour with one Buddy Holly this fall — and holographic versions of Ronnie James Dio, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse will be released later this year. It’s a trend that heralds a new wave of holographic tours that are more long-lasting than one-off tours, such as Tupac’s hologram at Coachella in 2012.
“Every show I go to, I ask the fans what they think of the show,” says Wendy, the widow of Ronnie James Dio, who also does industry relations for Illusion. “And not a single negative comment. They all thanked me for bringing them back.
However, it is not easy to spread the show to the public. “The hardest thing was convincing people that there was a show,” said Jeff Pezzutti, CEO and founder of Illusion, which produces Zappa and Dio tours. “It’s really hard to explain. It can’t even be translated into YouTube or photos. People think they’re coming to see a film, but that’s not the case. It’s a live show.”
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For Zappa and Dio’s shows, Illusion created it
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