Watch: Tupac hologram at Coachella -- you've seen the footage. Here's how it was done
Westword: My understanding is that Dr. Dre's production company commissioned AV Concepts to produce the Tupac performance piece for Coachella. Is that the case, and if so, how did the whole thing come together?
Nick Smith: Well, our relationship with Dre, some of that is confidential. We can't talk about it. But actually, Dr. Dre's production company produced the event, and we executed the technology.
How long did the process take from conception to rendering, like how many man hours would you estimate that it took?
Given that there were several different entities involved with the production on it, I couldn't speak to how many man hours total it was, because Dre's team of production people, and he obviously utilized Digital Domain and the groups that he works with. So our man hours, we probably have about three months of time into this project.
When did you guys get commissioned to oversee the project?
Probably about three months ago.
What was your involvement with the process, like what was your [role]? Was it rendering, or, like, what was your involvement in the project?
Our involvement was we helped with the technical specifications and the design and the usage of the technology.
So were you actually involved in the animation and that sort of thing, or was it kind of a partnership?
Uh, no, the content, like I say, that was Dr. Dre's production company that created the content, and we consulted with them on usage of it and how to utilize the content in this production.
So you acted more in a consultant type role?
We were consult for the use of the material, and then we actually designed and executed the physical set-up and made it work.
Well, now, you guys have the Musion Theater there in San Diego, right?
Yes, we do.
And the technology that was used -- my understanding -- is the Musion Eyeliner technology - is that correct?
Yes, Musion Eyeliner, and it was utilized on a staged and several other stages that we... We do a lot of corporate work and entertainment work, and we've utilized it in many different applications. This is the first time it's been utilized in a large outdoor event.
You guys have also done indoor events. For example, you've reanimated and done this sort of thing before on a - in a situation where you had four members performing at once, but that was indoor, correct?
That was indoor, correct.
You had one person that was onstage in Orlando and one that was, like, real time in London, is that correct?
Yeah, on our website is where you may have seen that or it might've been out somewhere, but we describe the technology on our website, and that application that you're talking about, that's the example that we use.
Is it similar to that, in terms of how this was executed at Coachella?
So the process itself -- any of the creative portions of it, like the footage and that sort of thing, was it archived footage for the performance? Was it archived performance footage of Tupac [as opposed to being re-created with a body-double] that was utilized for the performance?
Here again, that's proprietary information that you'd have to talk to Dr. Dre on that, to see if he'd like to release that.
Okay. How did you come to work with Digital Domain, and what exactly was there involvement in the process?
Dr. Dre's production company utilizes them, and I believe that they consulted with them on the creation of the material.
So they helped with the creation of the actual performance footage, then, I would imagine?
Right. And we consulted with them in how to create and utilize this technology. So it was a collaborative effort. They did the production work on it, and we collaborated with them to let them know how to do it.
So did they use your facilitates in San Diego to put the whole thing together then?
Yes, that's where we tested everything.
Was it over the course of several months that this happened, or did they bring a completed project to you?
No, it happened over several months.