During the Billboard Music Awards, Madonna and Latin singer Maluma, who performed their latest single, were not alone on stage. Using AR technology there were four virtual versions of Madonna performing alongside them.
The personas of Madonna came to life with the help of volumetric capture – essentially 3D video – and Unreal Engine. The avatars wove in and out of the performance, bursting into butterflies and puffs of smoke. To create this performance a tool called Brainstorm was used. Brainstorm feeds data from the physical cameras into the Unreal Engine, so everything from the real set lines up with a digital replication, ensuring the AR renders are in the right place at the right time.
The quote “The Queen is Back” was trending after Madonna’s impressive performance, the live audience numbered in the thousands and the TV viewership extended into millions. Although the AR addition wasn’t flawless, “the pros of the performance outweigh the cons” said Jones from Sequin, the company that created the AR addition.