A synthetic (or digital) Michael Jackson performs at the Billboard Music Awards. Eyes popped at the staggering $500,000 cost to produce Michael Jackson’s nearly 14-minute-long “Thriller” video in 1983. Fast forward to today, and a nearly 4-minute-long hologram performance at the recent Billboard Music Awards by a now-deceased Jackson cost “multiple millions” to make, according to Frank Patterson, the chief executive of Pulse, the company that produced the show. Patterson said in a phone interview that he was still ringing up the cash register and had not yet finalized the tab.
The Jackson estate, he said, had asked Pulse to do the job. Six months later, and after countless hours of coding and “reviewing thousands of videos of Michael’s work,” the King of Pop was brought back to life.
Simulating Jackson’s moonwalking was nothing compared to making the hair look right. “Getting the hair to act and look like Michael’s hair was a feat,” Patterson said. Using custom coding and animation programs like Maya and Nuke, Patterson said that Pulse remade Jackson countless times.
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