An exclusive look at Eric Prydz’s 5-ton LED Holosphere


(electronic music) – [Eric] We’ve always
almost lost money on EPIC, it’s been more of a passion project, so we just started sketching
on doing a live show that would be kind of more future. You want to give people an experience as they walk away and like, try and blow people’s
minds has always been our kind of agenda. I actually like seeing it from the crowd’s perspective, like they upload these videos on YouTube and stuff. And sometimes I can’t believe… It’s insane. I wish I was in the crowd. (electronic music) – [Dani] Eric Prydz is an icon in the electronic music scene. Most known for his
hits, like “Call On Me,” or through his many aliases,
like Pryda or Cirez D. But he also sets the
standard for live shows. He and his team are not only committed to creating a showstopping spectacle, but to developing new technology to do things that
haven’t been done before. Prydz and his team have spent the past two years
building EPIC Holosphere: an 8-meter transparent LED sphere for him to perform in. (energetic music) It was his most technologically
advanced production to date, but it only saw one show. Despite a successful
premiere at Tomorrowland, part of the stage ceiling sank after the festival’s first weekend, and the second show was canceled. Only one audience saw the
Holosphere performance live. But first, The Verge got an exclusive look behind the scenes at how
it all came together. – It started off with EPIC almost, I think, it’s almost ten years ago now. And at the time, a lot of DJ acts and electronic music acts were doing… when they were doing shows,
it was all kind of like confetti cannons and
fireworks and very much the same stuff like,
bands like Mötley Crüe or Iron Maiden and stuff like that were doing back in the ’80s. That kind of big arena,
which was fine at the time and it was cool, but we just felt that we wanted to use kind of the technology that now is available,
that wasn’t available then, and just try and do an
extension of the music. – [Dani] EPIC stands for
Eric Prydz In Concert. Over the years, EPIC has included hundreds of laser beams, millions of video pixels, and colossal, hologram-like illusions. – We had just done EPIC
4.0 and 5.0, which was putting EPIC– Eric in a cube, so we needed to move away from that, we all felt. So a sphere, at the time,
was incredibly ambitious. – [Eric] I do think that
the whole sphere thing is actually, I think it was Liam. His idea was to do a
sphere with a see-through LED material, so they would appear like holograms inside of it. – [Dani] To get a sense of how they planned to pull this off, I headed to Light Initiative’s workshop to get a peek at construction. – I was approached by Mark Calvert with a… very interesting challenge to create a video sphere. And my first, first thought
was that’s really hard. (Bryn and Dani laugh) But immediately, it was like, “Alright, how can we start to solve that?” And the ideas came thick and fast. So–
– Oh, so this is actually how tall the sphere will be?
– That’s right, yeah. That’s it, yeah.
– Wow. Dang, this is massive. – We’ve researched deeply the… ways to which you could make
a sphere and we’re confident that this way hasn’t been done before. – One of us came up with the idea to look at the spheres that you would find motorcyclists driving in at circuses. I think they’re called the
sphere of death or something? – Yeah. – And I would just sit on YouTube, just clicking through
these videos late at night, just trying to figure
out how they built them because a lot of the
form carries similarities to what we were trying to make. I was just watching these videos at night just thinking, “What am
I doing with my life?” (Dani laughs)
– [Liam] Is this, is this where this has come to? – [Dani] So, with a plan in place and fabricators on deck, they start hammering away on building the Holosphere. Everything you’re seeing
here has been custom made, even the LED strips that get snapped into the sphere’s notches. But the actual sphere is only one part. It also needs lights,
animations, and effects to bring the Holosphere to life. – The form that we’re now using is… requires an entirely different pipeline to create the content. This is what the content looks like in its two-dimensional form, and… that, when it’s wrapped around a sphere, gives us the form that
we’re looking at here. The challenges in creating
content for a spherical form are that the content needs to live in what I would call an equirectangular world. – [Dani] Equirectangular world? – Equirectangular. And that’s essentially what you would see if
you were to take a camera and film 360 degrees around you. It gets flattened out into
this kind of distorted, dreamy, bizarre-looking image
where up is no longer up, and left is no longer left,
and everything is just strange. So, trying to get my head around creating content within that
world was a real challenge. You kind of have to just
change your thinking patterns almost into another different dimension. That sounds really crazy
to say that, but it’s true. I took this video on my phone
of me just looking around rather dramatically, and used that video to take into
After Effects and track the motion of my pupil here. And that was able to drive the movement of the sphere within Cinema 4D. And what that gives is
a very accurate motion and a very accurate animation, which is essentially true to life. – What a lot of people
don’t realize is that even though, you know, they buy a ticket and they come to see a show, and it’s two hours, but
for us it’s been two years. (electronic music) (crowd cheering) – [Dani] The team says they’re unsure if there will be other
Holosphere performances in the future. I asked for an official comment about what happened with
Tomorrowland’s Freedom stage. Eric’s manager Michael Sershall said, “Due to safety concerns,
[Tomorrowland] decided to close the entire arena. We were absolutely devastated,
especially as it was a situation beyond our control, but safety is always paramount.” But EPIC shows are known for being limited-run events. Prydz and his team accomplished
their creative goal, and now, it’s all about what’s next. – [Eric] Our live shows,
they will evolve, and then after this, something else will come. New technology will come available that we figure out a
way to incorporate that, and we will be able to do something that we haven’t been able
to do before, you know? And it’s just on a continuous kind of, in an organic way, just refines itself and goes into different directions. (electronic music) – This video was brought to you by Aloft, different by design. Thanks for watching, hope you enjoyed it, and let us know, what’s the craziest show you’ve ever been to?

87 thoughts on “An exclusive look at Eric Prydz’s 5-ton LED Holosphere”

  1. So like or idea of blowing away audience just like daft punk did with pyramid and to this day no one forgets the experience they felt at coachella

  2. I was devastated I couldn’t get to see it Weekend 2 at Tomorrowland. Was really looking forward to see it. Next time…

  3. this technology he's destroying the humankind he is manipulating the people mind we are going down and we don't realise what evilness is this technology just to destroy the human being I hope God help us I hope Jesus is coming back soon god bless

  4. This sounds to me like someone else had a patent on this type design or technology and the patent owner found out after the first show. Idk, maybe it’s just me, but the whole “Safety” excuse has always been used to cover up something bigger.

  5. My bet is that the next technology they are talking about are light fields. Probably they are already in touch with Light Field Labs, OTOY & co.

  6. If this doesn't take you fall in love with technology then I don't know what will…. craziest take away "what a lot of people consider a 2 hour show, it took them two years to manifest" 🙂 I'm humbled.

  7. Why is the video so grainy and full of artefacts? It seems that someone shot really underexposed and pulled up the dark parts which have no information in it.

  8. 'Call on me' in the clubs in '04 was a total change. It was all fluffy "night at the roxbury" type music up until then. This guy really does have that trend setting ear and still uses it today.

  9. Craziest show I’ve been to was my little sisters 5th grade play. I can’t afford things like tomorrow land. 💀💀💀

  10. Weird that they now speak about the second week cancellation… I was there at the opening weekend event and there was a weird break of about 15 to 20 minutes in between the artist before Prydz and Prydz, having looked up the show I felt like something was missing at the time…. I don't know I had the feeling ''not everything was working properly''

  11. I am one of the lucky ones who got to see the Holosphere at TML W1. After that night, my family friends and I agreed that, from now on, there's the ones who have seen the Holosphere (for real, not in videos), and the rest … Still feel lucky and privileged

  12. Tipper and Friends. Android Jones. Ott. Please do yourself a favor and check these guys out. They are tremendous. And I've seen these holosphere type shows live, they are intense! Check out deadmau5 this year it's going to be sick!

  13. So a video producer watched videos on YouTube and then built a large heavy structure with unpredictable vibrations based on what he saw? Gee, I wonder why it had structural problems. It's almost as if becoming an engineer takes years of study for a reason.

  14. I was at weekend 2 of Tomorrowland and it sucked that the Freedom stage collapsed. It was one of my favorites last year and this year looked even more amazing 🙁

  15. 2:25 are you telling me that if it was a 1920 x 1080 display that his entire production has millions of pixels, 1000 frames would equal a billion pixels. since the display is clearly much larger her estimate is off by such a monumental magnitude

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