We are so concerned about volumetric scans that may rob celebrities and artists of their desks and the right to control their image, that somewhere along the way we forgot that scans are not always necessary to produce passable holographic performances.  That is the dynamics in the game because the British Base Hologram has announced a new musical tour of its holographic version of Whitney Houston, the legendary singer who died tragically in 2012.
The tour, "An Evening With Whitney Houston:" The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour & # 39; will include a digitally constructed 3D version of Houston, as well as the singer's original music on a real stage designed to meet to present thousands of fans in large stadiums. Along with the hologram, the audience will be presented with real human dancers performing alongside the 3D version of Houston.
Of course, the debate about the ethics of such performances, whether or not against the wishes of the deceased performer, began seriously years ago when an holographic Tupac was ironically presented in Coachella in the same year as the death of Houston. In that case, the artist's mother, Afeni Shakur, was quoted as saying she was "happy" with the idea.
"I think digital people and virtual beings will be more common in future games, experiences and platform content. Today this is a culture shock because [the public isn’t] was used to the software solutions and computer resources that we within reach, "Travis Cloyd, professor XR at iSTAR at Florida International University and co-founder of Worldwide XR, told Next Reality. "Today it's all about innovation and these iconic figures have told their stories in every medium. This is the same as photography and video, because it's just another form of capturing in today's world."
Regarding the digital double from Houston, it appears that the company behind the production has the direct involvement of the Houston family.
"Whitney is not with us, but her music will always be with us. We know that we have made the right decision to partner with Base because they understand how important it is to produce a phenomenal hologram," said Pat Houston, the former manager of Houston and the CEO of The Estate of Whitney E. Houston, in a statement. "They also know that engaging her fans with an authentic Whitney experience would resonate globally because of the iconic status she had created in three decades. Her fans deserve nothing less because she gave nothing less than her best."
Okay, so the person who trusted Whitney Houston with her legacy is on board, so at a certain level his fans can attend these holographic shows without guilt while embracing the singer's historical music catalog by the virtual style of its 3D image. Although the situation in Houston seems to be the best scenario, what happens to the many singers and actors whose estates are not in that order before their death?
Will holographic performances be facilitated by at least advanced 3D rendering and at best volumetric scanning, change the art and presence of our favorite artists in digital resources at the same level as Mickey Mouse in terms of business control?
Although my favorite example of how this scenario with holographic rights can take place, the obscure film is The Congress (with Robin Wright in the lead role), a more recent and more accessible story with a "what if" around these issues came through Black Mirror . The episode entitled "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" played the real singer Miley Cyrus who, after being put in a coma by her manager and placed in a coma, watches her unscrupulous manager give the world a new AI-generated song presents by a volumetrically scanned version of the disabled singer.
Of course this all sounds a bit too science fiction to be real … that is, if you are not in touch with the latest state of affairs in compelling entertainment. VR experiences for the recent Blade Runner 2049 film and AR experiences for the HoloLens have already been successfully produced in Microsoft's Mixed Reality Capture Studios. And every month a number of independent volumetric recording studios & # 39; s appear. The holographic mind is out of the bottle.
"Regarding celebrity rights and management, this is a very important issue and we only work with families and estates if they have approved the concepts and campaigns," says Cloyd, whose global XR company works together with Hollywood studios & # 39; s to bring James Dean and other classic actors back to life on the screen.
"It is always [with] their full support and our focus is to keep their legacy alive for future generations who want to participate in experiences. We work closely with the families and do everything to protect their interests, but also focus on working with the most innovative minds. "
The only question now is whether contemporary artists really understand what AR, VR, and holographic technology mean in terms of securing future intellectual property and enforcing rights. In The Congress there is even a whole series devoted to the practice of negotiating virtual human holographic execution rights.
It is true that nothing beats seeing an artist in the flesh, but if you really love a certain artist, you miss out on the opportunity to "see a version" of that artist. to see in a well-produced live show? Before you & # 39; no & # 39; claims, you must remember that virtual character Hatsune Miku already has a successful track record for live performances and that her YouTube videos & # 39; s have more views than many of your favorite human music artists. But Miku is just one of the best known among virtual artists, as new, popular virtual characters such as AI Angel appear every day.
And if you think these are outlier events, you may have missed the fact that 2019 Alita: Battle Angel Robert Rodriguez-directed film with a virtual character in the lead role with supporting human actors earned worldwide more than $ 400 million in ticket sales. This happens no matter how foolish or morally questionable it may seem to your analogous sensitivities.
One of Houston's biggest hits was "I Will Always Love You", and now it looks like she was right all the time. If you are a fan of Houston, as soon as you get your brains off the floor, you can check the availability for its European tour dates, starting in the UK on February 25.