In 2016, Patsy Cline will appear via hologram for full concert performances. The project was approved by Cline’s widower Charles Dick and will be executed by California-based Hologram USA for a show complete with commentary, audience interaction and appearances by present day A-list talent.
“We chose Patsy as our first Country hologram project, and our first female hologram project, for a reason: she was a pioneer who influenced generations of singers around the globe,” said Alki David, CEO of Hologram USA.
“We are very glad to share Patsy and her music with this new technology and format and honored by Hologram USA’s choice to have her as the first,” said Charles Dick on behalf of the family. “I am sure her fans, old and new, will be thrilled.”
The show will include such hits as “Walking After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.”
Since Cline’s tragic death in an airplane crash in 1963 she has continued to be one of the top catalog artists for UMusic/MCA/Decca with record sales in excess of 25 million copies. She has also been honored with a U.S. postage stamp, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Grammy Award and was the subject of a feature movie starring Jessica Lange and Ed Harris.
The first woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame will join previously deceased celebrities from the fields of music, comedy and sports to be brought back to life via Hologram USA licensing deals, including Liberace, Buddy Holly, Ray Charles, and many more.
“There’s really no such thing as an actual hologram,” says Scott Scovill, reigning CMA-SRO video director of the year, and owner of Moo TV. “You can’t have light floating in space. But there are certainly ways to fake it.”
Whether the source image originates from computer-generated imagery (CGI) or from talent virtually teleported from a camera lens to stages around the world, projectors are able to beam images that appear, at least to the audience, extremely lifelike. A technique developed in the Victorian Era to reflect objects as part of magical illusions is still in use today. Applied to today’s technology, the method uses mirrors to reflect 3D-looking images cast from a projector. In recent years, deceased performers Michael Jackson (Billboard Music Awards, 2014) and Tupac Shakur (Cochella festival, 2012) have been recreated with CGI technology and transferred on stage. Such full head-to-toe CGI recreations can cost in excess of $200k. Using a less-advanced rotoscoping technique, Elvis Presley was able to take the stage on American Idol (2007) when editors overlayed preexisting footage onto a body double.
Recently, Kacey Musgraves and Florida Georgia Line have had their lumens beamed live from Nashville to California to appear on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, utilizing patented technology from the California-based company Hologram USA.
Those projections are able to span the length of a concert stage or be condensed to fit inside a box truck mobile stage or miniaturized road case display. Mariah Carey was transported to five European countries for Christmas performances in 2011 using those mobile configurations.
For major tours, Scovill developed a pioneering and cost-effective alternative to projection. His method utilizes high definition LCD screens with tinted pixels, which alters the function of the viewer’s iris so the edges of the screen are not perceived.
“About eight years ago we developed this technique for Brad Paisley with Alison Krauss (‘Whiskey Lullaby’), then for Carrie Underwood (‘Remind Me’) and most recently for Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson (‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’). It is the only system like it that I am aware of.”
The outlook for posthumous performance revenue may find entertainers of today storing their own high definition polygons to touch the lives of fans even after their own life is over. With this technology, [Patsy Cline], Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Minnie Pearl could be appearing in a city near you, soon. Or perhaps present-day artists may enjoy sitting on the beach while their hologram is hard at work performing around the world.
–Eric T. Parker
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