Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | September 19, 2021

Scroll to top


Tupac live at Coachella Valley and Arts Festival

Ratu Lewis

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

And like me you probably thought ‘how in the world did they do that?’, so I did some Googling.

The company behind the hologram was the special effects production house Digital Domain and AV concepts were responsible for projecting Tupacs image onto the stage.

CBS reported that Digital Domain were also responsible for the transformation of Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

The company’s president, Nick Smith told MTV that it took several months of planning and four months of studio time to create the hologram.

Chief creative officer of Digital Domain, El Ulbrich told the Wall Street Journal that Tupac’s image was completely digital.

But some of what we saw, the jumping, dancing and waving, had to have come from previous footage from when he was alive right? Well apparently not.

“This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion,” Ulbrich told the Journal.

On their website AV Concepts said, “Utilizing the Musion Eyeliner system, the 302 x 132 screen was customized by AV Concepts to descend onto the stage in mere seconds between sets of the performance to bring the infamous, deceased singer back to life.

“The most critical technical element was AV Concepts’ proprietary Liquid Scenic server that delivered uncompressed media for 3 stacked 1920 x 1080 images, delivering 54,000 lumens of incredibly clear projected imagery.”

For those of you who just had that go straight over their heads it basically means they used a foil screen that reflected images from high-definition video projectors.

However one Ethan Smith form The Wall Street Journal writes that it wasn’t a hologram but rather a technology that is quite simple and is commonly called Pepper’s Ghost from the 19th Century.

This illusion trick was used in theatres and involved two rooms, a reflective pane of glass and special lighting techniques to make ghost appear and disappear.

So what Smith is implying that either they had a Tupac actor dancing around below the stage, they probably (going against what Ulbrich said) used archived footage.

But despite how it was done, whether it was cutting edge holographic technology or an old stage theatre trick, it was awesome!