Rockin’ Romania: How Holokid broke barriers for holographic technology over a 5G network.

Romania, Holokid broke barriers, Luca Mihail, Bucharest, Romexpo, 5G network, Holographic technology, Holographic, Catalin Buliga, CTO, Vodafone Romania, Ibc2019, IABM BaM award, CSI Magazine award, Best 5G project, Innovation, Smart Blending Technology

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Picture this: You’re at a rock concert, watching four guitarists, a drummer, and a keyboardist on stage perform in perfect sync. The sounds, the visuals, the experience—it’s flawless. You might have been fooled though because only three of the four guitarists are actually standing there in front of you. What if one of the guitarists was in fact a life-size ultra-realistic hologram standing in a studio a couple of miles down the road? Come again?

One might wonder as to how this was made possible. Luca Mihail, a talented 11-year old guitarist was asked to join rock band, Vita de Vie, on stage during their performance at Romexpo in Bucharest. The only catch was that Luca had severe stage fright. Not wanting to turn down the opportunity to play with the band, the producers turned to Vodafone Romania to help find a way Luca could still perform, but without the intimidation of the live audience. With the help of Musion 3D’s Eyeliner display, an ultra-realistic, life-sized, interactive 3D holographic video shows and effects display, Dejero’s state-of-the-art mobile transmitters and receivers, and Vodafone Romania’s 5G network, they were able to holographically place Luca on the stage while he played in a private studio, two kilometers away. They named him, Holokid.

Quite a spectacular display, the collaborative effort didn’t miss a beat—literally. The hologram technology is created using projection or high-pitch LED to give the illusion to the audience through reflection, light, shadow, movement, and contrast. Relying on each company’s strengths, this project involved moving a large amount of data across the 5G network between the two locations—where Luca was located, and the live concert. 5G offers a significant improvement in performance, especially in cases where cellular networks become congested. In this case, the 5G technology guaranteed high quality of image and audio transmission that was needed to deliver this spectacular display, something that would not have been possible before. Latency became the driving concern, as without absolute synchronisation between the audio and video channels, the effect would fall flat. Even the slightest delay would cause a ripple effect between hearing the audio and seeing the visual representation of Luca on the stage.

The project relied on a Dejero EnGo featuring patented Smart Blending Technology for the reliable transmission of Luca’s hologram over the 5G network. The signals were synced to both the venue and a return video and audio feed to Luca in the nearby studio. Musion 3D designed and assembled an image capture room, utilising their patented Holicom Film technique that included a monitor for Luca to see the audience without feeling the pressure of actually being there live, on stage. The stage was designed with considerations about how the illusion would look to those in the audience, and those streaming the event live on television and social media.

THE EXPERIENCE
A stunning world-first project, the event gathered thousands of fans, was live-streamed on Facebook, and became Vodafone’s 2019 flagship television commercial in Romania—with over 2 million YouTube views to date. The project was also nominated for three awards at IBC2019, winning an IABM BaM award in the Project, Collaboration or Event category, and a CSI Magazine award for Best 5G project or innovation.
At Vodafone Romania, the team has been spearheading the roll-out of 5G worldwide, launching and extending our first 5G network subscriptions across the country throughout 2019. When Luca Mihail, a talented 11-year old guitarist with severe stage fright, was asked to join rock band Vita de Vie in front of hundreds of rock fans during their performance, the production team called on us to help out. We had to find a way Luca could still perform without the intimidation of a live audience. So, with the help of Dejero and Musion 3D, Luca was placed, over our 5G network, on the stage holographically while he played in a private studio two kilometres away.

“Our collaborative effort didn’t miss a beat, creating the perfect synchronisation of image and sound that is required to enable the audience to suspend their disbelief. Any glitch and the illusion is shattered. It was a tall order and we succeeded! All in all, this event allowed us to demonstrate that next-gen 5G networks with higher uplink speeds can support more demanding, high-bandwidth content,” exclaimed Catalin Buliga, CTO, Vodafone Romania

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