"Hol-O-Pac" makes waves
Tupac Shakur returned from the dead at this year's Coachella music festival… as a hologram, who performed on stage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The effect cost almost a half million dollars, and by all accounts was remarkably realistic. (And may I say, death has apparently been good to Tupac. Dude was RIPPED.)
But despite the big special effects budget, Tupac's post-mortem performance was basically an effect which has been used to create paranormal hoaxes for decades. Basically, Tupac's ghost was simply projected onto a sheet of transparent plastic.
This helpful graphic at the IB Times breaks it down nicely. A projector mounted in the ceiling points straight down, beaming Tupac's image onto a mirror on the floor. The mirror bounces the image onto a sheet of transparent foil, which is slanted so that the audience only sees the projected image, not the foil itself.
There is a long history of ghosts being projected onto glass and plastic. I think it's a stretch to call this a "hologram," but since we live in the future, I think we should have holograms, so I will allow it.
The Tupac illusion was done well, but most people still found it unsettling. Both the performance and the implications. Who will get the "hologram back from the dead" treatment next? Will the Beatles be reuniting on stage? Elvis Presley? Jimi Hendrix? Which dead artist's estate will be next to succumb to greed?
Of course, it was somewhat ironic that Tupac "returned to life," given that some people suspect he never died in the first place. Tupac was ostensibly killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996. His estate released several albums after his death, containing posthumous fragments, unfinished tracks, and partially completed songs.
(It certainly only fans the flame of speculation that the title of Tupac's final record references the Illuminati.)
However, many people believe that some of these songs contain content that post-dates Tupac's death. Conspiracy theorists point to what seems to be a reference to the movie "Armageddon" (released in 1998) and to Eminem (who was not discovered by Dr. Dre until 1997).
Another theory holds that Tupac's supposed death was just a cover for entering the FBI's witness protection program. According to this theory, Tupac went underground in order to avoid consequences for providing testimony against the illegal practices of Death Row Records and Marion "Suge" Knight, Tupac's former record company.