The Gadget Helpline‘s REEL TO REAL is a regular feature to the blog, aimed at tech and film fanatics, which will reveal how the sci-fi and futuristic gadgets we see on screen in movies and television are making their way into real-life. Take a seat, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!
What do Princess Leia and deceased rapper 2Pac have in common? If you caught the footage from the recent Coachella festival you might know the answer to that – and if you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll immediately know where this is heading.
Yes, we couldn’t help but think similarities between the fallen star’s “performance” and the famous “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi” scene from Star Wars: A New Hope where the droid R2D2 projects a 3D holographic Leia who pleads for the Master Jedi’s assistance.
However, we hate to obliterate your fantasies like the Death Star to Alderaan, but the performance may be more of an act of trickery than an actual breakthrough in holographic projection technology – and we may sadly be no nearer to the gadgetry from a Galaxy Far, Far Away than we were before..
The company behind Tupac Shakur’s impressive resurrection, joining fellow veteran rappers Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre on stage, was the creation of AV Concepts. But contrary to belief, there were no 3D holograms used during the Coachella set. What was actually happening was that a two-dimensional high definition image of the rapper was projected onto a transparent sheet of mylar film (not to be confused with Mylock – a small planet found of the outer rim in the Star Wars extended universe).
The film sheet was positioned in front of 2Pac’s former Death Row records comrades, with the projection reflected from a surface below onto the sheet which was far in front of the live audience who were unaware the film was present. Careful lighting was applied, not to reveal to the transparent sheet to the crowd and those watching at home. The illusion was perfect, tricking us all into believing 2Pac had walked again in holographic form.
AV Concepts has since admitted the trick to be no more than just that and claims on its website that the performance “is not 3D and not holographic, it gives you … an illusion of that”.
So, we’ll not be making holographic video calls to any of our Jedi mates anytime soon. But it was a pretty cool thought while it lasted!