Hologram Schmologram

Duh! Cut the sensationalist crap press for a second, puh-leeeze! Michael Jackson’s so-called “hologram” appearance at the 2014 Billboards Awards is a simple — though admittedly clever — 2D-projection of Jackson and other performers on a 2D semi-transparent canvas on stage, with a few actual dancers thrown around the place for effect, and has nuttin’ whatsoever to do with actual three-dimensional holograms. Camera shots taken at angle show that he’s actually flatter than a pancake. It’s like showing a Charlie Chaplin movie projected on sheet of glass and calling it 3D.

Holograms are images that appear truly three-dimensional, meaning that if you turn the image, or move around it, you will see it from different angles exactly as you would if you turned or moved around an actual three-dimensional object. Doing the same with the Michael Jackson “hologram” is like turning or moving around a photograph printed on transparent plastic; it stays flat.

Please forgive my lack of “Oooh!” and “Aaah!”. I am just effin’ underwhelmed both by the stage technology and by the public understanding of the term “hologram”. Had this been presented as “a pre-recorded Michael Jackson music video from before he died”, I wouldn’t have taken issue with it. I’ve nothing against Jackson as such, I enjoy a lot of his music, but saying that this brings him back from the grave is like showing “Casablanca” on TV and saying that it makes Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman alive again.


On closer examination, it looks as if the “Michael Jackson” in the Billboards Awards video is a totally different dancer, either a stand-in with a computer animated version of Michael’s head on his neck, or an entire rotoscoped and computer animated Michael Jackson puppet. This would make sense as I doubt that Jackson would prepare dance recordings of this type, especially tailored to this particular projection method, to be used after his death, and any existing music video and concert material would most likely not be high-res enough for such a wide screen display. Seeing as this is all pre-recorded anyway, the producers can do pretty much anything in terms of CGI. I mean, that’s how Hollywood makes movies these days.

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