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Narendra Modi’s “Holograms”

We’re a little late on this, but we recently discovered that the popular Pepper’s Ghost illusion played a crucial role in both the the 2012 Gujarat state assembly election and 2014 general election in India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used Pepper’s Ghost technology to create realistic holographic projections at various locations across the country in order to better spread and personalize his campaign.

One instantiation of Pepper’s Ghost is to simply project imagery onto reflective glass in order to achieve the perception of a hologram (under the right viewing and lighting conditions). This is precisely what was done by Modi’s campaign during the 2012 and 2014 elections, allowing Modi to be “transported” to hundreds of locations and simultaneously to give his campaign speeches. This gave millions of voters a glimpse at Modi speaking for the first time, as shown in the video below (The video quality is phenomenal and we can’t verify if this is an actual recording of the illusion in action if this video is simply the source content. The image at the top of the article is more on par with the quality we would expect from Pepper’s Ghost.)

The company behind the installations is Musion, the same company that “resurrected” Tupac at Coachella in 2012. Musion specializes in holographic projections using Pepper’s Ghost and has quite an impressive list of projects. They even hold a Guinness World Record for the most simultaneous broadcasts of the Pepper’s Ghost illusion (achieved during the Modi campaign), which took a significant engineering effort. From the Musion website:

“[T]he equipment list alone is staggering: over 30,000 square meters of our Musion patented holographic projection foil; 200 Christie 20k and 14k projectors; 400 satellite dishes; 5,500 metres of trusses, 1,300 lights; 500 audio speakers; 200 sound mixers and power amps; and 14,000 metres of speaker and power cables.”

To get all of this equipment to the right locations, they even had to build mobile stages as shown below. For more details on this project, head over to Musion’s project page.