Rihanna’s surprise appearance during the Calvin Harris set at Coachella on Sunday wasn’t the biggest surprise of the day. The award for most shocking went to Tupac Shakur, the long-dead rapper who appeared onstage next to Snoop Dogg for “Hail Mary,” “Come With Me” and “Gangsta Party.”
This was not your run-of-the-mill stand-still hologram. Though there was clearly an unnatural amount of light coming from his body, the movements and voice were realistic, advanced and uncanny.
The image – which addressed fans (“What up, Coachella?”) and disintegrated at the end of the set – came courtesy of Dr. Dre and AV Concepts. Dre also worked closely with Oscar-winning CGI company Digital Domain.
Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts told MTV, “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life.”
Smith said it was an “affordable” process, and that this technique could easily be applied to any dead celebrity. “You can take their likenesses and voice and…take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it.”