Celebrity augmented reality 'holograms' are coming

RadicalMedia is working on immersive virtual representations of stars.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Get ready for celebrity 'holograms' beyond the usual 2D illusions. RadicalMedia and Uncorporeal are partnering on 3D captures of celebrities for augmented reality and eventually virtual reality performances, giving digital stand-ins a greater presence. You could go to a venue and see a convincing virtual concert or lecture no matter where you sit, and with more freedom of movement for the star of the show. The technique encircles a green screen stage with 48 cameras, creating a hologram-like effect that not only works in any AR or VR format (including future headset tech), but can carry over to 2D video.

RadicalMedia isn't ready to say which celebs will be involved, in part because it's still negotiating deals. However, it expects to showcase its project within a year, when it also expects augmented reality tech to reach the public. It's not certain just how sophisticated it'll be in practice. AR hardware like Microsoft's HoloLens is rolling out even as I write this, but the $3,000-a-pop pricing isn't realistic for a theater or lecture hall with hundreds of people. The most advanced presentations may be reserved for smaller-scale, shorter presentations where just a few headsets are enough. Oherwise, you might end using phone-based headsets (or no headset at all) to get a good-but-not-great viewing experience.