In 2007, fans of the popular “American Idol” reality television talent contest were surprised to see a performance that was the stuff of science fiction. Canadian songstress Celine Dion sang a duet with Elvis Presley, the late King of Rock and Roll, three decades after his untimely death. It is important to keep in mind that Dion was still in grade school when Presley passed away, so this performance was accomplished with holographic technology.
The YouTube video of the Dion and Presley rendition of “If I Can Dream” has been watched millions of times since it was posted more than a decade ago. Holograms of late musicians have been used by various concert promotion firms; they tend to have a mixed reaction because audiences are not quite used to this technology, but there is no question that these seemingly real digital projections are amazing. While the studio audience was left astounded, those watching from their living rooms got an even more sophisticated view of the performance thanks to slick production. The singers even walked onstage together.
Many people were introduced to hologram magic by the “Star Wars” film franchise, which happened to have started in 1977, the same year Presley died. In the film series, holograms are used as a means of communications similar to the video calls we now make with mobile apps such as WhatsApp and FaceTime. The peak of hologram technology used to entertain music fans reached a certain peak in 2012 when the late rapper Tupac Shakur took the stage with Snoop Dogg at the Coachella music festival, but this idea was clearly derived from the 2001 film “Vanilla Sky,” in which a hologram machine in the future projects a hologram image of John Coltrane performing live at a party in a swanky Manhattan penthouse.
Aside from musical performances, hologram technology is also being used to preserve history. During the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, a World War II event that marked the end of the Holocaust, a new program was revealed to preserve the memories of survivors, most of whom have passed away, through digital hologram presentations that can be replicated and projected by museums around the world.
If by any chance your social media contacts have not seen this Presley and Dion performance from 2007, this would be a good time to let them know about this video.