Thanks to Rolling Stone (by way of MTV) and technology blog Ars Technica, it's been found that the coolest damn part of Coachella's first weekend was not as much a hologram as it was a modernized 19th century magic trick — one made possible by the same digital arts company that brought you such films as "TRON: Legacy" and "X-Men: First Class."
From Rolling Stone:
"We worked with Dr. Dre on this and it was Dre's vision to bring this back to life," Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts, told MTV. "It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life." MTV reports that the Shakur hologram was created by the Hollywood special effects studio Digital Domain, who have previously worked on films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, TRON: Legacy and X-Men: First Class. After months of planning, the studio created the hologram in nearly four months.
From Ars Technica:
So here’s how it works: the audience needs to be able to see into the main room, but not into an adjacent hidden room. In the case of the Tupac "hologram," that’s the main stage where a real-life Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were sharing the limelight. However, hidden on stage is a piece of glass, where the images can be reflected from and pushed into a target area that makes it seem like a single room. But off to the side, behind the glass, there’s a hidden room that has the original object being projected.
These days, AV Concepts, the San Diego-based company behind the Tupac performance, uses a proprietary Mylar foil, known as Musion Eyeliner, rather than glass. The company said in a press release on Monday that its on-site server "delivered uncompressed media for 3 stacked 1920 x 1080 images, delivering 54,000 lumens of incredibly clear projected imagery."