The King lives! Makers of Tupac hologram say virtual Elvis is next


This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

Just a few months after wowing Coachella Valley Music Festival audiences with a virtual Tupac Shakur, visual effects company Digital Domain Media Group has announced plans to bring Elvis Presley back to life virtually.

Actually, make that Elvis Presleys -- plural.

“We are looking to develop several versions of Elvis,” said Ed Ulbrich, chief creative officer at Digital Domain, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “And we are looking at development across different distribution channels, including live shows.”


Elvis will still be performing his old standards, but expect new takes on the classics.

“We are creating an original and exclusive brand new performances by Elvis Presley that no one has ever seen before,” he said.

Digital Domain specializes in creating what Ulbrich called “synthetic human beings.” Since the company was founded by filmmaker James Cameron in 1993, it has worked almost exclusively in movies, famously winning an Oscar for its work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

“The first hour of that movie, the character is completely computer generated from the neck up,” Ulbrich said. “That was really, for us, a watershed, breakthrough moment.”

But now, the technology that the Digital Domain team has created is ready to take synthetic humans beyond the silver screen, onto other screens and venues.

And it could happen soon. A spokeswoman for the company said Digital Domain only spent two months creating Tupac’s performance for Coachella.

But Ulbrich thinks that working on Elvis may prove to be more difficult for the team.

“It has to be absolutely authentic, and he should be utterly believable and real,” said Ulbrich. “The world will be watching, and there is no tolerable margin of error.”

For the record, 4:55 p.m., June 6: An earlier version of this post said it took Digital Domain four months to create the virtual Tupac, rather than two months. Also, an earlier version of the story implied that the company worked on audio for the Tupac performance. It did not.


Tupac Shakur hologram performs at Coachella

GOP candidate Mitt Romney dogged by email hacker

A flying cat? Dutch artist turns dead feline into helicopter

Follow Deborah Netburn on Twitter or Google+