• Video from 4k camera is compressed, sent over internet
  • Pitch to celebrities focuses on time savings, past success

Taking global celebrities on tour across Asia can be grueling and expensive. One online games developer says it’s found the solution: holograms.

Canada’s ARHT Media Inc. has used its technology to beam live holograms of stars including motivational speaker Tony Robbins to packed rooms. Now it wants to take its shows to China and India. It’s in talks with Creative Artists Agency -- one of two leading U.S. talent managers -- for access to its roster of high-powered clients.

Instead of taking an entourage and their gear on a 13-hour flight to Beijing, Los Angeles-based stars could greet fans from the comfort of their bedrooms, said Simon Leung, executive director of NetDragon Websoft Holdings Ltd., a developer of games that owns about 20 percent of ARHT and is driving the Asian initiative.

“Actors and actresses don’t come here that often,” he said during an interview in Hong Kong. “With this technology, when they have four hours’ spare time, they can go to the studio and boom: they’ve spent an hour with the audience.”

The technology behind ARHT’s holograms is simple. Live video from a 4K camera is compressed and transmitted over an internet connection. A dedicated server processes the data and projects it onto a coated mesh-screen, creating a 3-D image with the illusion of depth and substance.

ARHT’s already finalized an agreement with tinePublic, which has previously organized events with Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, for paid appearances in China. It will initially train partners to set up its equipment in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shenzhen, Mumbai and Delhi, Leung said.

Celebrity holograms aren’t new: Michael Jackson’s moonwalk highlighted the 2014 Billboard Music Awards almost five years after his death. The trick is convincing celebrities and viewers to accept a nascent, untested format. ARHT points to savings on logistics as well as past successes: using its technology, Robbins last year charged people in Australia thousands of dollars to attend packed workshops he ran from Miami. It now plans to do the same with deceased rapper The Notorious B.I.G. in the near future.

“That particular show in Australia was A$6,000 ($4,400) per person,” ARHT Chief Executive Officer Paul Duffy said. “The one we’re doing in August will be upwards of A$7,000.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE