The Hologram Revolution – Back From The Dead
Get Ready for the Hologram Revolution
Source: PC Magazine
By Seamus Condron
May 20, 2014
Dear Elvis Presley impersonators, your days might be numbered.
Hologram Michael Jackson
I don’t typically watch music awards shows, but on Sunday night I tuned into the Billboard Music Awards to catch a performance from Michael Jackson. You know, the music legend and kinda creepy guy who died five years ago? Well, he’s back…in hologram form! If that sound scary enough, the scarier news was how eerily flawless the whole thing was, at least from a technology standpoint.
Geeks everywhere have had a quiet fascination with holograms and their evolution through pop culture and in real life. Our first holographic experience was probably when we all saw Princess Leia plea for help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. Then it made a giant leap on Star Trek: The Next Generation with the Holodeck, a fully immersive environment that felt as real as true life, where you could visit and interact with any time in history. But up until last night’s Michael Jackson resurrection, real-life iterations have been pretty disappointing. There was that time CNN tried to deliver election news via hologram (which wasn’t really a hologram), as well as another musical resurrection, namely Tupac Shakur at the Coachella festival, which also was CGI, and not a true hologram. Which begs the question, where are the damn holograms?
Last night’s hologram, or whatever technology was powering it, was something entirely different than anything I’d seen. Not only did we see Michael Jackson moonwalk, we saw a precisely choreographed, four-minute act that was virtually no different than if Jackson was there in the flesh. I say virtually because it was not perfect; there was that face that reminded you of the first time you saw The Polar Express, albeit vastly improved, and the hologram, while agile, didn’t seem to have the elasticity that Jackson possessed when he moved and danced.
All that said, how will something like this look in a year, or in five? It reportedly took six months to put the Jackson performance together, for four minutes of payoff. But how long will it be before we can push that to 60 minutes, or two or more hours? While watching the performance last night, I could imagine executives from Disney and show promoters from Las Vegas salivating at the prospect of fully immersive holographic theme park rides, or the triumphant return of Elvis Presley for three shows a night.
You’re probably thinking that the prospect of entertainers returning from the dead is a morbid one. However, talk to me in five years and tell me how you feel. You still may not like it, but it will be so present that it will be as normal as walking down the street and following directions by a robot that lives in your phone. You probably wouldn’t have expected that either.
And if you still can’t stomach the idea of the hologram of a dead singer performing in front of you, pick your own passion/poison, because pretty soon the holograms of famous writers, scientists, and ancient philosophers will be at your disposal. Think about sharing a glass of stout with a fully aware holographic version of your favorite writer, Oscar Wilde, and tell me if you’re still creeped out.
The King of Pop is back in the spotlight — and not everybody is happy about it.
Despite the well of affection for the late Michael Jackson, his “return” in the form of a hologram at Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards didn’t meet with unanimous approval.
The spectral Jackson performed “Slave to the Rhythm,” one of the singles from “Xscape,” a new album of posthumously released Jackson music. He was accompanied by actual, physically present dancers.
Billboard Music Awards: MJ hologram and Kendall’s flub get buzz
It was either the most amazing thing ever — or super creepy, depending on which side of the fence you were viewing it from.
Recording artist Trevor Morgan tweeted “MICHAEL JACKSON HOLOGRAM IS RAD.” New York magazine’s Vulture assistant editor Lindsey Weber tweeted “turns out this michael jackson hologram is just as confusing and uncomfortable as we imagined.”
How Holograms Work
Source: How Stuff Works
by Tracy V. Wilson
If you want to see a hologram, you don’t have to look much farther than your wallet. There are holograms on most driver’s licenses, ID cards and credit cards. If you’re not old enough to drive or use credit, you can still find holograms around your home. They’re part of CD, DVD and software packaging, as well as just about everything sold as “official merchandise.”
Unfortunately, these holograms — which exist to make forgery more difficult — aren’t very impressive. You can see changes in colors and shapes when you move them back and forth, but they usually just look like sparkly pictures or smears of color. Even the mass-produced holograms that feature movie and comic book heroes can look more like green photographs than amazing 3-D images.
On the other hand, large-scale holograms, illuminated with lasers or displayed in a darkened room with carefully directed lighting, are incredible. They’re two-dimensional surfaces that show absolutely precise, three-dimensional images of real objects. You don’t even have to wear special glasses or look through a View-Master to see the images in 3-D.
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