FOX is finding the ultimate digital pop star on new singing competition Alter Ego. Given that people feel a lot more accepted in the digital realm, the show provides talented singers with the freedom to express themselves on stage.
Hosting the FOX show is Rocsi Diaz, while will.i.am, Grimes, Alanis Morissette and Nick Lachey are the Alter Ego judges. The contest sees 20 singers compete to win a $100,000 prize – and have the experience of a lifetime.
How does Alter Ego work?
Brand new talent show, Alter Ego is purely about talent and not about how you look. The contestants on the show create their fantasy avatar and perform as them during the competition.
Given the CGI characters performing on TV, many viewers have wondered how the show actually works. Rather than being on stage for the performance, the singers are actually backstage wearing their mocap (or motion capture) suit performing. Their performance is being captured and mapped onto their avatar which is performing on stage for the judges and studio audience.
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What does the Alter Ego audience see?
As viewers at home, the show appears slightly different than it does for the audience in studio. The Alter Ego stage is actually empty during the contestants’ performances. Providing some insight into what the audience sees, one person Tweeted: “The studio audience has side screens and they are seeing it the same way the at home audience does. But the physical stage is empty.“
Distractify writes: “Although both the audience and the judges get to watch the performances in real-time, they don’t actually see each avatar performing on stage, which was empty at the time of filming.
“Alter Ego uses this same technology to project each contestant’s avatar to the live studio audience via big-screen televisions. Judges are able to tune into each performance by way of monitors below their desks.“
Judging by the ‘reveal’ episodes on the show, the only time that the singers actually grace the stage is when they reveal themselves and get eliminated. During the Mia/Fern reveal, Mia enters the stage and performs alongside her avatar, which we can assume is prerecorded for this part of the show. Mia’s avatar disappears off stage and she said farewell to the judges in person.
The technology behind the show explored
Alter Ego judge will.i.am gave viewers a look behind the scenes and revealed that via augmented reality, the singers are transported through the lens on the real-world stage.
The show combines a real stage with lighting and mixes it into the virtual world. The tech used on Alter Ego includes motion capture and facial recognition technology. These technologies are combined to allow singers to reinvent themselves and showcase their performance style.
Since the very first avatars existed, they have developed a huge amount. A show like this couldn’t have been done before as the technology just didn’t exist. Now, thanks to the software being developed, the technology reads the motions of a person and translates it into motion for the character.
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