Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Fairy On My Shoulder

Well, it's Lapis Aoki who is on the guitarist's shoulder for Little Wish (following her Daydream Flight) in this Vocafarre live conference event, which also features the likes of Tone Rion, Gumi (Megpoid) and Akikoloid.

This was a remarkable event as it featured the vocaloids as true holograms (at last!) whereas they are usually either merely rendered on computer/game console screens or – at concerts – projected onto two-dimensional displays/surfaces. I say "at last" but this was over a year ago, and it still hasn't been made sufficiently technically viable to become mainstream. It's obviously on the way, though...

Technically, the main method being used here is Augmented Reality (known as 'AR') along with some more conventional methods, as with the action at the side wall and with the dummy-like figures at the rear of the main stage. Specifically, although no commenter I have yet encountered on this event has said this, I believe it is what is known as Spatial Augmented Reality, with a lot of projectors, that has achieved what we encounter in watching this event.

The consequence of the new technology is that, even when sharing a stage with human performers, the vocaloids have had to be behind the humans. That limitation has now gone, and they can strut their stuff at the front along with the best of them. Okay, so they probably are the best of them, at least in respect of strutting/dancing, but you get the point!

Meanwhile, others have been trying other so-called 'full body' projection. For example, Miku has appeared thus using a water tank as a 3-D display medium, though I have no details or photos on that as yet.

Now, with this event, there's a lot of warm-up and nothing very interesting to us as non conference-goers happens until thirty and a half minutes in, so do feel free to 'scroll' to that point, certainly on your first viewing I'd suggest. Each featured vocaloid is then first introduced via still images and samples of tracks, then we go to the real action, whether it's on the main stage, the 'fairy stage', or the solo guitarist.

It has to be said that the technology isn't quite there yet: the technical quality isn't quite as good as the best Dreamy Theater productions I have been featuring here in recent weeks – though this will show only in full-screen play – and there is an occasional minor glitch, causing the holographic elements to suddenly move a little. But this all shows where the business is heading and it is without any doubt good enough for now. We can live with the imperfections!

As per the slogan I recently added to this 'blog's banner, in the next few minutes this could well melt hearts (especially the Lapis part at 40 minutes in) and cause jaws to drop. Watch especially for the mobile camera shots that prove this is truly holographic...

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