It’s the non-Facebook equivalent of: “Is this dress blue and black or white and gold?” Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie during Monday night’s Grammy Awards broadcast has elicited polar opposite reactions in the social media stratosphere: “Worst tribute ever” to “Brilliant! No one else could have pulled that off.”
I’ll spare you my opinion on the actual performance but I will say that Intel’s technologies made the six-minute tribute a memorable visual experience.
The Grammys collaboration between Gaga and Intel was teased in a video during Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s excellent CES keynote last month. Krzanich highlighted many of the creative enhancements for performance made possible by Intel’s RealSense technology.
Of course when the announcement was made, Mr. Bowie was still alive and whatever was planned by Gaga for the Grammys was obviously scrapped in favor of the Bowie tribute, which, it turns out, could not have been a better showcase for RealSense.In the opening seconds, animated liquid makeup flowed down Gaga’s face eventually resulting in Bowie’s signature lightning tattoo, which bloomed a CGI spider climbing around her face while she sung the opening lines to “Space Oddity.” The effect, a result of RealSense 3D facial scanning, set the tone for weirdness that only Bowie could evoke.
RealSense was also used to create holograms of Gaga, her dancers and even Bowie himself during a high-energy take on “Rebel, Rebel.” At one point, her hologram splintered into hundreds of white doves.
Most of the backround visuals were generated by RealSense imaging and a small detail that may have gone unnoticed was the fact that Gaga herself was controlling some of the effects via two large rings on her fingers powered by Intel’s tiny Curie processors.
And then there was the robotic, dancing piano, designed by Intel engineers.
Some Bowie fans were clearly not satisfied with the whole spectacle, some remarked that Gaga was “not worthy” of such an important of role in honoring their hero. Whatever your take, there is one thing I think I know for sure, Bowie himself would have loved it.
Judge for yourself: