How the Tupac ‘hologram’ worked (infographic)

19 Apr 2012

An animated image of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur performing with rapper Snoop Dogg that awed crowds at the US Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on Sunday was not a hologram at all, but a two-dimensional video projected using technology based on an old theatre trick, a new infographic shows.

Two companies are behind Tupac’s “performance”: AV Concepts, and visual production house Digital Domain, whose employees created the animated version of Tupac.

AV Concepts used Musion Systems Ltd.’s Musion Eyeliner setup to project the animated version of Tupac onto a screen that appeared invisible to the audience, IBTimes reported.

The Musion eyeliner system is based on “Pepper’s ghost,” a theatre technique for producing illusions first demonstrated by John Henry Pepper in the 1860s.

In the stage version of the illusion, as explained by IBTimes, an actor is hidden in a recess below the stage and faces a mirror. The audience sees the actor’s ghostly image reflected in a sheet of glass suspended above the stage, and lighting can be used to make him “appear” or “disappear.” The infographic on depicts how this worked for the Tupac “performance”.

Tupac was killed in 1996 after having been shot four times. He was 25.

Tupac infographic