James Rock, the man behind Musion Systems, the company that helped create the hologram of Tupac Shakur, has said he doesn’t believe holograms will ever “replace live performances”.
The use of holograms in live performance has been a big talking point ever since Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg brought the hologram of the deceased onstage at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April, with the likes of Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye and even Justin Bieber discussed as popstars who could be in line to become holograms.
Asked by BBC Radio 1 if he thought holograms could replace live performers, Rock compared the choice to “between the theatre and cinema” and said that he thought people would eventually “buy in” to the idea of seeing a virtual performance.
He said: “I don’t think we’ll ever replace going and seeing a live performance. But don’t forget that the world’s a very big place. I think this will end up with something like this ‘Do you go to the theatre or do you go to the cinema?’.”
He continued: “If you go to a see a virtual performance and you see that the people on stage look like they’re really there, I’m convinced that people will buy into it. We will have our detractors, people who say ‘It’ll never be as good as the real thing’. But wouldn’t it be cool to have, in your bedroom, or in your lounge, a little mini-performance.”
Then asked to explain how they did the trick, Rock said that it was based around a Victorian vaudeville illusion named ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, which can make objects seem to appear or disappear, to become transparent, or to make one object morph into another.
He said of this: “It’s based around a trick called Pepper’s Ghost, which is 150 years old. We did Simon Cowell’s 50th birthday and there we brought Frank Sinatra back to life to sing to Simon.”