A woman asks - and flinches...
April 26, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Celine Dion and Elvis - the duet - on last night's "Idol Gives Back". Oh pity please, how was it done? I've tried every combination I can on google/technorati.
posted by Jody Tresidder to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it would look different if you were in the Audience and watching it home. I think it was probably an Elvis impersonator on the stage and then it was digitally enhanced for the broadcast.

My friends thought it could have been a projection, but what would it be projecting onto?

If it wasn't digitally enhanced, it must have been a damn good impersonator.
posted by unexpected at 7:04 AM on April 26, 2007

couldn't they just have gotten a good impersonator, and let her sing with a recording? I assumed that's what was happening. Or the guy possibly does an excellent singing impression too.

Elvis lives!
posted by jourman2 at 7:28 AM on April 26, 2007

I agree with unexpected -- there was a stand-in at the show pretending to be Elvis. As for the shots with the King and Celine, they were digitally enhanced, similar to what they did in Forrest Gump (only this time, the archival footage was imposed onto the live footage). The quality of the King's image was pretty poor, suggesting they took from old tapes. They even had to degrade Celine's image a bit to make them match.

Personally, I think getting an impersonator to lip sync as Elvis would be pretty tacky. Long live technology!
posted by puritycontrol at 7:32 AM on April 26, 2007

Best answer: I didn't see the broadcast, but is there any chance it was done with a Holographic Projection System, like Gorillaz used at the MTV Music Awards in Lisbon?
posted by benzo8 at 7:40 AM on April 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

On our high-def screen, there was a visible change in picture quality when that segment began and when it ended - so much so that I was convinced that it was pre-recorded. And something about the way Ryan interacted with a girl in the audience right afterword made me think the stage was empty, and the audience was seeing it on monitors.
posted by jbickers at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2007

Best answer: From the youtube comments:

I'll give you all a little insight into how this was accomplished. The performance was not "live" like some people believe, but a pre-recorded performance between Celine and a gentleman named Ryan Pelton, who performs as Elvis nightly at Legends In Concert in Myrtle Beach, SC. Ryan was a stand-in for Elvis's body and portions of the video released from the Elvis Estate were used to replace Pelton's face. There is a statement on ryanpelton(dot)com about his experience on Idol.
posted by the cuban at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2007

Response by poster: the cuban - you are brilliant! Thanks so much. I can't wait to further follow up from your info about Ryan Pelton.

Also - benzo8 - spookily enough, it was the Gorillaz' MTV show that sort of prompted today's question! When I saw Madonna moving behind those cartoon projections, I was also fuming that I couldn't understand the technical trickery at the time. I half kept an eye out for an explanation, never found one - and it was because I couldn't stand feeling ignorant in the same way over Elvis-Celine that I thought I'd risk an AskMe (even if I was the last person on the planet who was so stupid!).
Thanks very, very much.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:45 AM on April 26, 2007

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