Jaw-dropping virtual performance by the late rapper
The Tupac Shakur hologram stunned 90,000 festivalgoers and sent digital resurrection stratospheric. There were 15m YouTube views in just 48 hours.
The virtual performance took place at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (known simply as Coachella). It was part of a show by Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg that saw rap artists such as Eminem and 50 Cent ignite the festival as they took to the stage one after another. But it was Tupac’s holographic performance that blew the audience away, mashing minds and sending the crowd insane as the virtual performer, exquisitely crafted in the rapper’s image, took to the stage. The Tupac hologram proved utterly game changing and year defining.
About the Tupac hologram
Coachella is one of the most influential and well-attended music festivals in the world. It is an annual event that brings together the world’s greatest established acts alongside the young and up-and-coming. With such a mix of high profile and excitingly new acts comes extensive media coverage, both offline and online.
The festival usually wows the audience and creates headlines, either through a gargantuan performance or a reunion of some kind. But this year the crowd simply went insane as the holographic image of the rapper, who died in 1996 after being shot four times in Las Vegas, entered the stage and joined Snoop Dogg to perform the hits Hail Mary and 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.
To the audience, the hologram looked, moved and acted like Tupac, even bantering with Snoop on stage and addressing the crowd, capping off his stunning entrance by asking: “What the f**k is up, Coachella?”
In true rap form the performance was a feat of bravado, and technology.
Our technology used for the Tupac hologram
The Tupac hologram was several months in the planning and took nearly four months to create in a studio.
Oscar-winning Digital Domain created the virtual Tupac. The visual-effects factory also produced the virtual versions of Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
By piecing together physical characteristics and movements from performances recorded before the rapper’s death, the Tupac image was recreated on a computer. Using the latest in graphical and audio trickery, Digital Domain was able to add fresh movements and new dialogue, too.
AV Concepts then used our Eyeliner™ holographic technology to project the hologram on to the Coachella stage. And because Eyeliner™ creates a lifelike, life-size illusion of a 3D image the other performers were able to interact with the dead rapper, walking around him and synching movements.
Previously AV Concepts had also used similar holograms for Madonna, the Gorillaz, Celine Dion, and the Black Eyed Peas – helping to bring virtual performers to the world stage.
Reactions to the virtual Tupac
Even with such intense media and fan focus on the festival, the sheer impact of the Tupac hologram was unprecedented.
Tupac’s short career and death meant fans and media alike never had a chance to see Shakur perform live, save for some pre-recorded releases and posthumous guest appearances. Yet he continually drew media interest and had a huge following, becoming one of the most popular artists in the world, even in his death.
So when the hologram went live, the world was ready to holla!
The performance went viral: the hashtag #tupachologram was among the top ten tweeted topics for three weeks, there were more than 17 million Google search results for ‘Tupac hologram’ over the subsequent two weeks and 15 million views on YouTube within the first 48 hours. Thousands of news stories appeared in print, online and on TV and radio.
For Tupac’s estate, sales rocketed with more than 33,000 downloads of the rapper’s top two singles and subsequent album sales increased by more than 500%.
Virtual Tupac had rocked the world.