How The Tupac “Hologram” Actually Worked

There’s no question that Tupac’s return from the grave to perform at Coachella was awesome. Even if you’re not a fan of ‘Pac, you can’t deny that the image of Machiavelli performing alongside Snoop brings to mind a lot of questions. One of these things you were left to ponder was how exactly they projected his image on stage. Look no further as COED gets about as deep as we feel comfortable explaining technology to the masses.

You can read the full press release here, but essentially the first piece of information we had to figure out was who helped Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg bring Tupac to the masses. We learned that it was AV Concepts who “executed the technology and content behind the most anticipated performance at this year’s Coachella Music Festival.” AV had previously worked on a gig with Madonna + the holographic members of the Gorillaz as well as with the Black Eyed Peas. The press release revealed very little about their technique, only that they had used Eyeliner technology. Confused because we knew the real ‘Pac’ would never have used eyeliner, we continued investigating.

According to Wikipedia, Musion Eyeliner is a technology which produces a flat image that has the illusion of hanging from space. In order for Eyeliner to work, however, there must be a thin, metalized film on which the image is projected on. Additionally, this metalized film must be angled 45° towards the crowd. Unlike most technologies, it does not recreate stereoscopy nor is it actually a hologram. In short, the Tupac you saw was simply a downward-facing projection onto a screen that was angled out to the audience.

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