In 2012, John Textor excited the world by providing fans with a “live” performance from deceased rapper Tupac Shakur. Two years later, he did it again with a Michael Jackson circa 1991 digital impression at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.
The images were so life like that audience members got to their feet, and those who knew the artists personally were in tears at seeing them bought to life again.
Textor is the man deserving most of the credit for this technology, being called the pioneer of holographic entertainment. He’s now taking his knowledge and expertise to Hollywood, to further improve the digital image creation technology for popular films like Ender’s Game and the upcoming Disney project Art Story.
Yet the possibilities made from this technology go beyond live music performances or digital characters in film. By being able create real-life human likenesses that can sing, dance, and move in ways so subtle and complex that even people who personally knew the inspiration for the avatars are convinced, Textor could create likenesses of historical figures to make museums more interactive and fun for kids. He has even talked about life-like surgery or military training simulations. For now, Textor can only follow where the market demand takes him, and continue developing the technology for increasingly more realistic portrayals of human beings.
John Textor has a long history with both technology and entertainment, having co-founded the Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, a Florida-based private holding company He has served as the CEO and chairman of Digital Domain where he oversaw the production of digital effects for 25 different Hollywood films. Today, Textor is executive chairman of the board for Pulse, a digital production company specializing in applications of human likenesses.
Textor hopes to see the field expand, and is building on the hype created by the Tupac and Jackson shows.
He says Pulse has received requests from many different estates, though he declined to say which ones, and they are currently preparing at least the likeness of Elvis Presley. A mind for entertainment, Textor says he is ready to build performances with stories, the way a living musician would at a show, rather than simply creating a Presley who sits on a stool singing.
This means Pulse is looking to do more than simply create believable images, they are looking to be leaders in entertainment, as they have already proven more than capable.