20th Century Fox
Tech Sleight-of-Hand: I Want to Believe
Watching this weekend's incredible Coachella concert footage of Snoop Dogg uniting with the late Tupac Shakur -- brought back to "life" as a very real-looking hologram – I now firmly believe that we've passed the point of no return in discerning what is tangibly real and what is technological sleight-of-hand
What is CGI? What is Photoshopped? And now what is a hologram? We're truly entering a brave new world in which human and object movement effects are becoming more and more naturalistic and seamless; watching the Tupac hologram, my eyes and brain knew that what I was watching was a tech manifestation – since the man has been dead for 15 years -- but from the grainy YouTube video I couldn't tell if Tupac was a previously filmed performance, or completely CGI motion-capture, or a little of each.
Moreover, if I didn't know Tupac was actually dearly departed, I wouldn't have guessed he was a hologram – until he majestically disappeared into thin air at the end.
With technology that predated the '90s, you could usually spot a fake at ten paces -- for the most part -- but these days, it's getting increasingly difficult to know if something is genuine or a clever fabrication. Will future generations believe anything that they see? Or will they be forever cynical -- unless perhaps they see it with their own eyes?
Like Fox Mulder in The X-Files, I want to believe. As a kid, I spent countless hours trying to determine if a photograph depicted a real UFO or just a tossed pie plate, and if footage of Bigfoot was a guy in a gorilla suit or the real deal.
Since impressive effects are no longer the domain of Hollywood, but in the hands of the average iPhone user with a freshly downloaded app, there's less and less way of truly knowing what has been doctored or not. Now, I'm sadly becoming more "Scully" than "Mulder" when it comes to "seeing is believing": simply skeptical.
How about you? Are better effects ruining your perception of reality?