Bummed you missed/will miss out on the impressive (if not a smidge creepy) spectacle of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg bringing Tupac Shakur to the Coachella stage last/next weekend? Things might be turning in your favor, as a new report suggests that Dre and Snoop are entertaining the idea of a joint tour – one which would see them bringing along the virutal ‘Pac.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “a person familiar with the discussions” claims discussions are planned to address two possibilities: a massive stadium tour with some of the other Coachella guests (Eminem, 50 Cent, and Wiz Khalifa), or a limited, smaller venue tour with just Dre, Snoop, and digi-‘Pac. A spokeswoman for the still-living rappers declined comment.
Dr. Dre’s camp approached the Digital Domain Media Group (the Oscar-winning SFX house behind The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) about creating the Tupac “hologram” a year ago, and it took four months to pull off the Coachella performance. As Digital Domain’s Ed Ulbrich explains, “To create a completely synthetic human being is the most complicated thing that can be done.” He adds, “This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion.”
The effect is not a true hologram (sorry, sci-fi kids). In fact, it’s essentially a 2-D projection technique from the Victorian era called Pepper’s Ghost. It’s the same trick utilized on Disneyland’s The Haunted Mansion ride – the tech has just gotten better, and this Tupac is a completely digital creation. “This is just the beginning,” Ulbrich says. “Dre has a massive vision for this.”
Hologram or not, the prospect of Tupac touring 15 years post-mortem is everything from intriguing to haunting to potentially polarizing. We’ll keep you updated, so stay tuned. Below, check out Tupac’s beyond-the-grave performance from last weekend’s Coachella (scroll to the 16:50 mark).
P.S. London Olympics organizers, maybe there’s hope for Keith Moon yet!