The Tupac hologram that headlined Coachella last weekend may go on tour with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, a source tells the Wall Street Journal. Dre and Snoop are evidently discussing logistics for two "likely but not guaranteed" tour options: a stadium tour involving the the virtual Tupac, Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa or a smaller Dre, Snoop and Tupac hologram arena tour.
Dre and Digital Domain, the visual effects company who created the virtual Tupac, talked about creating the hologram a year ago, and worked on it for four months leading up to Sunday's show. Digital Domain's Chief Creative Office Ed Ulbrich told the Journal that their Tupac was an entirely fabricated, 2-D image:
To create a completely synthetic human being is the most complicated thing that can be done. This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion.
Digital Domain built the virtual Tupac on a computer, using movements from recorded performances as a template. At Coachella, San Diego company AV concepts projected an image onto a flat piece of lightweight, reflective Mylar. AV Concepts president Nick Smith estimates that a holographic performance like the one at Coachella could cost $100,000 to $400,000 to produce. Tupac's mother Afeni Shakur granted Dre approval to use the hologram in Sunday's performance. A rep for Shakur says she was "thrilled" with the show. "This is just the beginning," Ulbrich says. "Dre has a massive vision for this."
Update, 4/19/2012: Dr. Dre confirms that the virtual Tupac will perform again at the second weekend of Coachella, this Sunday 4/22. He hopes the show will inspire the onstage resurrection of more musicians, like Jimi Hendrix and Marvin Gaye.
Update, 4/23/2012: In a video message to fans, Dr. Dre says the virtual Tupac was created exclusively for Coachella 2012, and not for a tour. If a Dre and Snoop tour goes on the road, he's not sure whether or not the hologram will come along:
As you know, we had a hologram of Tupac Shakur show up as a part of our show…It was strictly for Coachella, get it right. I wanna get rid of all the rumors out there. This was not done for a tour. If a tour happens, we'll see.