Sethward is a new author here at Art of the Story. He is a man of many faces literally and figuratively. We interviewed him and Kyle Helf a few weeks ago. For his first post he breaks down how he made the Tupac Hollogram. At this time of writing it has reached nearly a million views. Not bad for a video that has been online for less than a week. Let’s give him a warm welcome and without further ado….
Here’s the scoop: I saw the Coachella Snoop Dog/Dr Dre video on reddit sunday night like around 5am cause I was up late finishing edits to a sitcom. I was like, “well that was neat, we should probably make a spoof.” But I was tired so I went to bed. I woke up later that day and showed the hologram video to Blake and Kyle and asked if they had any spoof ideas. Kyle first thought of how weird/disturbing it would be to resurrect somebody with a less glamorous profession; like having a dead professor come back and guest teach a class, or a hologram lawyer that represents you. Then I tried to think of other popular holograms and the first one that came to mind was Star Wars,’ Leia. Then we brainstormed how we would shoot it and nobody really wanted to recreate anything or spend the time for elaborate preproduction. We knew the idea was a ticking clock. By the time I could construct an R2-D2 out of cardboard someone else would already have a video online. So I rushed to my imac and grabbed the highest quality tupac hologram off the internets and went to work.
It was fairly easy splicing the footage together. It was fun finding the best thug lines from Tupac and mashing them with naive Luke skywalker, and C3PO.
Then I went about cutting out Leia. Now let me preface this: I know the editing wasn’t perfect and the effects were pretty amateur but my imac wasn’t handling premiere nor after effects very well (slow and would freeze up frequently) plus I was working with a huge timestamp. This is what you get when I throw a project together in a couple of hours.
So to start off I used the cloning took and erased all of Leia from every frame. I made a matte and overlaid it with the original footage to take away all the weird back lighting. I didn’t spend too much time on this because I knew the Pac was going to be rapping over it and that was going to forgive the rough edges.
Now the next part was where it got tricky… All the footage that I could find of Tupac at that time was a close up to begin, especially the line in which he says, “you know what the f*** this is”. I really wanted to use that line but Tupac didn’t have any legs…So I spiced in footage of his legs from a later shot and just tried to match them with the rest of his body… When I thought of it I was like…”hmmm probably not going to work but I’ll try it out.”
It ended up working out pretty well once I put the bad tv effects on it and cut to different shots of his full body. If you look closely in the video you can tell that he is quite literally cut in half… I could have tweaked it more to make the line disappear and match it better with more defined keyframes but by the time I keyed and rotoscoped out all the background it was getting late and I was working with very little sleep from the night before. Not to mention I was scanning the internets whilst editing to make sure nobody had already uploaded anything of the content. People had already started tweeting about R2D2…
So I finished it up mixed the audio a bit, refined the bad tv effects to try and hide more of the harsh rotoscoping and weird torso differences, color corrected and changed the opacity to make it more like the Leia hologram and boom, passed out while it was rendering.
Unfortunately I didn’t hear my alarm go off and woke up the next morning with stanky breath and an email from Jeff with a link to Mr Frog Man. It had made it’s way to Reddit’s Front Page.
I made the decision to still upload even though the idea had materialized before I could get it uploaded. We sourced the link out to a lot of people including the Coachella facebook page. And we had a couple hundred views in an hour or so but then Coachella tweeted it which also posted a facebook status and we were off to the races. We immediately got a couple thousand from that. It hit front page of the video section of reddit as well as a few other blog posts. We continued to link it out to everybody we knew and ended up getting it spread allll across the internets. We had a couple of issues with people re-uploading it without giving credit but for the most part it was really well received.
I made the video to build a following and attract users to my other videos that I’ve worked hard on but never garnished any attention. Most of my videos have now received a high bump in views and I’ve picked up about 500 subscribers so far! So mission accomplished… hologram protocol.
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Sethward’s Website: http://squeth.com