James Rock, the man behind Musion Systems, which was the company that caused quite a stir earlier this year when they helped create the hologram of Tupac Shakur that appeared at Cochella, has said that he doesn’t believe holograms will ever “replace live performances.”
He added that the hologram projections aren’t as futuristic as you think. They were actually inspired by a 150-year-old trick.
The discussion of who would be the next artist to get a hologram has heated ever since Shakur appeared on stage with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. It has been speculated that artists like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, and even Justin Bieber might be the next in line to appear in holographic form. This has led some to wonder wheter holograms will replace live performances all together.
James Rock doesn’t think so, but he does think that there is a place in the world for hologram performances. When asked by BBC Radio 1 if holograms would replace live concerts Rock responded, “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.”
When 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.
“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,” Rock said.