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Disappointed you never got to see Elvis sing Hound Dog? Wishing you’d watched Jimi Hendrix perform Purple Haze?
Believe it or not, you may not have missed your chance.
A remarkable technological breakthrough means long-dead stars could soon be appearing “live” on stage.
A British firm has combined modern 3D holograms with some clever Victorian theatre trickery to create astonishing illusions of the artists performing.
The company stunned 90 000 fans when it projected a lifelike image of Tupac Shakur singing alongside other acts at a festival in April. The rapper, who “appeared” on stage for two tracks, was shot dead in Las Vegas in 1996.
Next on their list of stars to bring back to virtual life is Hendrix, whose sister Janie has been working with London-based Musion Systems on the project for the past year.
Fans could once again be able to pack venues to see the legendary guitarist perform classic hits such as Voodoo Chile and Fire. Miss Hendrix said: “For us, of course, it’s about keeping Jimi authentically correct. There are no absolutes at this point.”
Among the other artists who may soon be making an unexpected return to the tour circuit are Elvis, The Doors and Marilyn Monroe.
The hologram effect is created using a combination of modern 3D wizardry and a technique known as Pepper’s ghost. Developed for Victorian theatre houses, it involved using mirrors hidden off-stage to project a ghostly image on to a piece of glass on stage.
To produce a pop star hologram, the creators study old footage and put together an animation that incorporates the performer’s characteristics.
During a concert, this is then projected on to a series of hidden mirrors, which in turn reflect it on to a transparent on-stage screen – creating the moving figure seen by the audience.
Earlier this year, James Rock, director of Musion, said: “It’s an ongoing process, but the technology just gets better and better.
“Obviously there are issues with the estate and licensing the content from them, but the technology is there.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Elvis’s estate had given permission for his image to be developed into a hologram for shows, as well as film and TV appearances.
Ed Ulbrich of Digital Domain, the firm behind the virtual Elvis project, said: “This is not repurposing old footage that the world has already seen.
“We’re making totally original and exclusive performances so that fans can have new experiences.”
Jeff Jampol, who manages the estate of The Doors, said: “We’re trying to get to a point where 3D characters will walk around. Hopefully, Jim Morrison will be able to walk right up to you and look you in the eye.” – Daily Mail