LONDON – Musicians are using an interactive hologram based on Victorian technology to reach fans in the locked down world of the coronavirus pandemic.
Musion 3D teamed up with Faroe Islands singer Dan Olsen to launch Fanshare, a modern twist on an illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost involving a huge sheet of glass which was used in theatres in the 1860s.
“It’s the closest you’re going to get to a virtual image, a virtual likeness of the real human being,” Musion director Ian O’Connell told Reuters.
“You don’t need glasses, you don’t need a headset. You’re sitting here as if you’re watching a regular stage show.”
Olsen and a guitarist played in a small studio in east London while their images were projected onto a stage in central London where the piano player was performing live.
“It looks like all three of us are on stage playing at the same time but two of us are holograms,” Olsen said.
The technology allows a performer to be anywhere in the world, ideal in a time of rapidly changing restrictions on public life caused by the pandemic.
“The timing couldn’t be better to do this now because people are looking like how can we play to an audience because we can’t get musicians to travel and all of a sudden with this you can do it anywhere in the world,” Olsen said.
Although most fans won’t yet be able to gather in large numbers, Musion hopes people who spend so much time on social media have a different understanding of what an audience is, and the company eventually wants to get gigs onto mobile devices.
“We’ve coined this phrase from home to phone,” O’Connell said.
“If this goes on for many months and we’re able to rock up to a local music pub like the Half Moon in Putney (in London) and do an open day for musicians to play and we stream them out to the wider web on a pay-per-view basis.”