That Tupac hologram that wowed Coachella crowds Sunday evening and will maybe go on tour wasn't actually a hologram. It was a technology that dates all the way back to 1862 called Pepper's Ghost, said The Wall Street Journal's Ethan Smith on The News Hub. "It’s not a hologram. It’s very, very simple technology, from the Victorians actually," Jim Steinmeyer, illusion designer and author of the book Hiding the Elephant, confirmed to The Atlantic Wire. Considering the (creepy!) life-likeness of the hologram, which one Coachella attendee told us she looked more like an impersonator than an optical illusion, it's pretty impressive that it boils down to a 19th-century theatrical effect.
All it takes to make your very own Tupac "hologram" is a Pac replica and a plate of glass and light, Steinmeyer explained. It's the same stuff used -- minus 2Pac -- for the very first Pepper's Ghost demonstration back in 1862 at the Polytechnic Institute in London. There John Henry Pepper used an angled plate of glass to reflect light off of a hidden actor below the stage, making him appear ghost-like on stage. "That glass would reflect that actor and lift that actor up so it appeared the actor was on the stage." Steinmeyer told us. "It was a relfection in the glass and you had to light the actor really brightly." As this YouTube demonstration below shows, the very same principles are used for modern day Pepper's Ghosts. Like Steinmeyer said, super simple.