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W hen singer/actor Frank Sinatra died in May 1998, fans the world over mourned his passing. Born to Italian immigrants, this kid from the blue-collar, working-class city of Hoboken, New Jersey, eventu- ally would turn into a superstar whose nicknames included e Chairman of the Board, e Voice, and 'Ol Blue Eyes. A member of the so-called Rat Pack, Sinatra became a quintessential legend of radio and Hollywood. It's no surprise that countless people—young and old alike—were big fans of Sinatra's music and movies. Among them is UK native Simon Cowell, music executive, television producer and personality, and entrepreneur, who is best known as the highly critical judge on the reality TV show American Idol. So when organizers began to make plans for a 50 th birthday bash for Cowell at a facility in England, they were determined to have Sinatra make an appearance. Of course, it would be impossible to have the famed crooner appear in the flesh, but having him appear digitally, in a hologram, well … that had possibilities. "e party organizers wanted the hologram to look 100 percent real, as if Sinatra him- self had stepped onto the stage for a private performance," says Vicky Godfrey, director of SquareZero, a London design, animation, and production facility that brought the singer back to digital life. e most challenging and time-consuming part of the project was locating source materi- al for the hologram. Banana Split, which commissioned the project, wanted the holographic singer to belt out "Happy Birthday," although no footage could be found of the real Sinatra warbling that tune. In fact, the selection of possible songs was extremely narrow due to the limitations of the project. Foremost, the footage had to be continuous and filmed with a single locked-off camera. "e holograms do not work well if you have edited source material; you just can't do any- thing with it," says Godfrey. "e hologram has to look as if a real person is standing in front of you, not [clips of ] an edited show. It has to be as real as real can be." SquareZero composited the body of an impersonator with the rotoscoped head of singer Frank Sinatra from film footage to create a hologram of the star. January 2010 31 Holography n n n n

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