Hey Tupac, Holograms Have Come A Long Way, Huh!

Hey, how’s it going, world?  I’ve been pretty busy lately — Daphne and Fox have been keeping things running while I’ve been away.  Thanks, you guys.

I have to say it is amazing to have supportive colleagues and work in a place that gives its people the resources to rock and roll.  But enough about that, Have you heard that Tupac Shakur just did a guest spot at Coachella with Snoop?  Yeah, I heard that too.  But with everything, once I see something, I then go wait a second! and start looking at the history of the last time it was done.

Tupac at Coachella?!

I don’t know how many of you remember this, but back in 2006, the Gorillaz and Madonna did a set with some, uh, “holographic” folks – you know, the ones playing the actual music:

Then there was Snoop and Tupac last month, courtesy of AV Concepts in San Diego – everybody’s being real hush-hush about this, but the principle is fairly simple:

You know what?  I think that’s pretty cool.  There were a few times when the Tupac hologram seemed to have its global position moving (look for the times when Snoop was standing next to the Tupac hologram and the hologram seems to have its ground moving around, a la the Virtual Insanity video), but other than that, I’d have to say that was some pretty cool stuff.

One thing that most MTV watchers and general population of Coachella folks won’t see (or know to look for, frankly) is that this was done back in 2007 too, in a theatre (gasp!), and with Shakespeare (double gasp!), The Tempest, to be exact.  Well, to be even more exact it was called La Tempete.  The theatre company that put this show out there (and CONTINUES to put holographic shows out there) is called 4D Art, based in Montreal.  Check out these images, this stuff is fantastic:

This one just rocks me for some reason, it’s a really awesome image and interaction:

Back when I was in Oklahoma City and OKCU was being run by the now dead Don Childs, we priced out doing a similar type of thing for their annual A Christmas Carol, and we found that it was somewhere along the neighborhood of about $30,000 for a 20X40 foot piece of that holographic film.  That didn’t even involve the system of projectors and computer.  In the case of the Tupac “appearance” at Coachella, AV Concepts used something called the Eyeliner system, from Dimensional Studios in London.  The system consists of computers, projectors, and some holographic film.  From the Dimensional Studios website on the Eyeliner system, from the company Musion:

The primary components of a Eyeliner set up are:

  • A video projector, preferably DLP with an HD card/minimum native resolution of 1280 x 1024 and brightness of 5000+ lumens.
  • For smaller cabinet installations, a high quality TFT Plasma or LCD screen can also be used.
  • A hard-disc player with 1920 x 1080i HD graphics card, Apple or PC video server, DVD player.
  • Musion Eyeliner Foil + 3D set/drapes enclosing 3 sides
  • Lighting and audio as required
  • Show controller (on site or remote)

Subjects are filmed in HDTV and broadcast on to the foil through HDTV projection systems, driven by HD Mpeg2 digital hard disc players, or uncompressed full HDTV video/Beta-Cam players.

The setup is erected in either a bespoke cabinet or a self contained four legged ground support. Alternatively, the foil can be stretched into a truss framework and flown from its own hanging points.

In either configuration, Eyeliner allows for a full working stage or set to be constructed behind the foil. In so doing live actors or performers, as well as virtual images are able to interact with other projected images in such a way that it appears to the watching audience that all of the objects they are seeing are in stage.

It is therefore quite conceivable to have a live performer sing a duet with a ‘virtual’ partner, a cartoon character or even his/hers projected double.

All the images used on an Eyeliner system are three-dimensional images, but projected as two-dimensional images (2D/3D) into a 3D stage set. The mind of the audience created the 3D illusion. This means that production costs are minimal, needing only the single camera lens for filming and a single projector for the playback – hence the phrase ‘Glasses-free viewing’.

That’s some pretty awesome awesomeness.  Even more awesome, a video of some of the holographic highlights from 4D Art’s production of La Tempete:

Happy Monday, everybody!

Thanks to HuffPo for the Tupac image, everything else is from 4D Art’s website.

Some articles on the 4D Art production:

 

How It’s Made – Holograms

Laser crazed people, raise your hands!

<Jim raises both hands in the air, quite like that of a person who just has a lack of care>

Check out this How It’s Made of a laser hologram being captured, developed, and exposed.  VERY cool.  Now I cannot WAIT until my Wicked Lasers S3 Spyder Arctic comes in!  Come on, damnit, SHIP!  (At first it was 3-5 days, now they’re telling me 3-5 WEEKS.  It’s a shame they already charged the credit card…)

A Rotating Autostereoscopic Display

stereogram

Talk about cool displays – check out this display from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. They’ve created a three-dimensional display system that rotates at a very high speed. From the website at the ICT:

The Graphics Lab at the University of Southern California has designed an easily reproducible, low-cost 3D display system with a form factor that offers a number of advantages for displaying 3D objects in 3D. The display is:

  • autostereoscopic – requires no special viewing glasses
  • omnidirectional – generates simultaneous views accomodating large numbers of viewers
  • interactive – can update content at 200Hz

The system works by projecting high-speed video onto a rapidly spinning mirror. As the mirror turns, it reflects a different and accurate image to each potential viewer. Our rendering algorithm can recreate both virtual and real scenes with correct occlusion, horizontal and vertical perspective, and shading.

While flat electronic displays represent a majority of user experiences, it is important to realize that flat surfaces represent only a small portion of our physical world. Our real world is made of objects, in all their three-dimensional glory. The next generation of displays will begin to represent the physical world around us, but this progression will not succeed unless it is completely invisible to the user: no special glasses, no fuzzy pictures, and no small viewing zones.

This thing is beautiful – check out some video:

Nanomachines Matching Camoflage to Surroundings?

Hmm.  I guess on one hand, this could be cool.

“Is that Jim in a camoflage suit?”
“Obviously not, Frank, that’s the side of a building.”

I just read an article at GizmoWatch about some researchers at Sandia National Laboratory that have created a series of light-emitting nanomachines that could be applied to clothing to alter its color per its environment.  From the original article at PhysOrg:

“Camouflage outfits that blend with a variety of environments without need of an outside power source – say, blue when at sea and then brown in a desert environment – is where this work could eventually lead,” says principal investigator George Bachand. “Or the same effect could be used in fabricating chic civilian clothing that automatically changes color to fit different visual settings.”

Such clothing could be a reality in five to ten years, he says.

The power source for both the biological and the lab method relies on the basic cellular fuel called ATP, which releases energy as it breaks down. Fifty percent (roughly) is absorbed by the motor proteins – tiny molecular motors able to move along surfaces.

When fish change colors, motor proteins aggregate and disperse skin pigment crystals carried in their “tails” as they walk with their “feet” along the microtubule skeleton of the cell. By this means, they rearrange the color display.

This will undoubtedly lead to some interesting innovations in product development – ah, military research and their unlimited pool of money.

nanomachines

Did You See The Giant Projected Dr. Manhattan?

On March 4 for the opening of the movie Watchmen a large water screen and projector were used to project a 100 foot Dr. Manhattan in the middle of the Thames in London.  Did you see this?  Did they at least blur out the big blue penis?

A press release governing the event and movie release gave some info, but not enough.  Hell, I don’t even know what projector was used!  What is THAT about?!

From the press release:

London, 4 March 2009 – To celebrate the Paramount Pictures UK release of the hugely anticipated and revered Watchmen (in cinemas 06.03.09), at exactly 8pm GMT, London’s River Thames gave birth to a Watchmen spectacle that was beyond the thinkable. Dr Manhattan, the blue skinned, super-powered being beloved of all Watchmen fans, appeared above the murky depths of the Thames to a height of over 70 feet and towered over all those who dared to attend.

This dramatic, one-off spectacle was created using the world’s biggest water screen projector. The water screen, moored especially for this occasion in the middle of the Thames between the London Eye and The Shell Building, created an enormous vertical screen of water that extended to 72 feet in height and 100 feet across. Specially created, never to be seen again Watchmen footage, was projected onto the screen to showcase Dr Manhattan’s translucent and shimmering form in dramatic and gigantic effect -an excellent and exciting medium to see Dr Manhattan in all his super human glory as he hovered over the city in true Watchmen style!

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, “Watchmen” is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the Doomsday Clock–which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union–moves closer to midnight.

When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the outlawed but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion–a disbanded group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers–Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future.

Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the Watchmen?

My wife didn’t seem too pleased with the movie, but make your own opinion.  All I have is one question – why couldn’t he wear some kind of pants?

Thanks, DVICE!

CNN’s Holograms

So, I’ve embedded a video below of CNN’s Holograms that I posted earlier this week.  They looked okay, but as the technology improves, I know they will look better.  Check out the video – the holograms are towards the end.

CNN News to Star Election Night Holograms

I have done my very, very, very best to stay far far away from Election news on JimOnLight.  I could not pass this news story up.  Don’t worry, it’s not about Obama or McCain – instead, it’s about CNN’s news anchors.

They will be interviewing holograms on live television.  It’s a technology that isn’t far off from full-time use (obviously), and if it works right, I bet we’ll be seeing a heckofa lot more of it on CNN and other news agencies.  From the USAToday article:

There are plenty of reasons for the gimmicks: This year’s race has been intensely followed, and is expected to draw tens of millions of voters — and viewers — on Nov. 4. Significantly more people are expected to watch Tuesday night’s results than in 2004, when about 64 million viewed election-night results on network and cable TV, according to Nielsen.

USA TODAY got an exclusive peek at the holographic technology, which CNN hopes to unveil prior to the election on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. CNN is still fine-tuning the technology.

“It’s so complicated,” Bohrman says. “The crew is basically shooting someone that isn’t there.”

CNN will have 44 cameras and 20 computers in each remote location to capture 360-degree imaging data of the person being interviewed. Images are processed and projected by computers and cameras in New York. There’ll also be plasma TVs in Chicago and Phoenix that will let the people being interviewed see Blitzer and other CNN correspondents. Bohrman says the network can project two different views from each city so Blitzer can appear to be in the studio with two holograms.

This technology is amazing stuff – used on a small scale already, and in a large scale in some theatres, especially in Canada.  Expect to see an article about it soon.