SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — With wedding season around the corner, many brides-to-be are busy with all the wedding planning including the guest list. But with travel and COVID concerns, not everyone can always attend the wedding. One company is stepping in with a high-tech solution, beaming in wedding guests.
At Nelly’s Bridal Boutique in South San Francisco, owner Nelly Santana says she meets many brides who are looking for the perfect wedding dress for their special day. But Santana also says it’s important for her clients to be surrounded by their closest friends and family, and tell her they’re worried their loved ones may not be able to make it to their wedding.
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Canadian firm ARHT Media is stepping in with the next best thing, turning wedding guests into live holograms.
For bride Brittany Smith Gallant, it was the ultimate wedding surprise. Three weeks before her wedding near Toronto, she found out her best friend Sarah Redington who lives in London could not make it to the wedding due to COVID restrictions. Her husband Jeffrey came up with a solution, transporting Sarah to the wedding as a hologram.
“Oh Sarah, this is amazing!” exclaimed Smith Gallant.
“I wouldn’t miss this, baby!” said Redington.
At ARHT Media’s WeWork studios in San Francisco, CEO Larry O’Reilly appeared as a live hologram, speaking in real time more than 2,000 miles away at the firm’s Toronto headquarters.
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“When I appear life size, I should be able six feet tall and appear to be 3D without 3D glasses and there’s no noticeable latency in the audio, your brain starts telling you the person is there with me and we call that creating presence,” said O’Reilly.
ARHT Media uses an art engine to capture the video file, compressing it and encrypting it to send it over the internet. They use a 4K camera and a green screen to turn a hologram to life.
ARHT Media teamed up with the NBA, turning Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green into a live hologram so he could interview Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray in a safe, socially-distanced way during the 2020 NBA Western Conference Finals.
But ARHT Media wants to make their technology more accessible to everyone. They’ve set up 100 WeWork studios across the country and around the world, so anyone can become a hologram.
“We’re changing the way digital communication actually works,” said O’Reilly.
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The cost to turn yourself into a hologram is $25,000 for an event. But it’s $3,500 for a WeWork to WeWork beam-in event.