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Music Idle

Japan's Latest Rockstar Is a 3D Hologram 305

Posted by samzenpus
from the as-real-as-it-gets dept.
kkleiner writes "Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop diva who's just started to play massive stadium concerts to sold out crowds. Her hair is blue, she dresses like Sailor Moon, and she'll only appear in concerts via a 3D 'hologram.' Oh, and did I forget to mention that she's completely fictional? Created by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune Miku and her virtual colleagues have gone on limited tours in Japan."
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Japan's Latest Rockstar Is a 3D Hologram

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  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:38AM (#33970554) Journal
    Erm... yes, that's great and all. Except Hatsune Miku has been around since 2007, and versons of the the Vocaloid software that powers "her" has been around a good bit longer (since 2004 or so, I think). I'm pretty sure I heard reference to special-effects-heavy concerts more than a year ago.

    The software can be used, with a lot of practice, to do reasonably convincing versions of Japanese language songs. Attempts to use the Hatsune Miku vocaloid to do anything in English are usually hilariously awful. Fans of the game portal may be amused to note this rendition of the game's famous closing song... erm... Steal A Lamp [youtube.com].

    In fairness, there are Vocaloids which can handle English much better, but this story seemed to be specifically about Hatsune Miku.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034)

      Gorillaz have been around since 1998. They are mostly 2D though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Gorrilaz use the full 3-D version, I'm not sure what year they started. If you check them out on Youtube, they appeared at an MTV awards show with their virtual avatars in 3-D and had Madonna live onstage dancing with the virtual models. It looked really slick and from what I've heard it looks just as good if not better in person.

        It's basically an updated version of the classic "Pepper's Ghost" illusion (wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of the effect with diagrams). Essentially it uses semi-trans

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          The Gorrilaz use the full 3-D version, I'm not sure what year they started.

          Let me just take this opportunity to mention that Gorrilaz are really great. Their music makes me want make stupid movements with my body.

        • by EdZ (755139)
          Both this concert, and the Gorillaz concerts, were 2D.
          While the Peppers Ghost illusion (provided by Musion [musion.co.uk] if you want to look into it) makes it appear as if the characters were walking onstage, the 'floating' image is a two dimensional flat plane. It only has the illusion of depth due to to the apparent interaction with on-stage objects (i.e. the only reference you have is 3D If the background were projected too, with no physical stage, it would look very obviously two dimensional). There is no stereo pro
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EdZ (755139)
        Despite the summary, the hologram thing is of little importance. The real interesting thing is the Vocaloid software itself: The actual singing is computer generated. Admittedly, it uses an initial sample bank from a human singer for the seed phonemes (think an incredibly over the top application of autotune), but it's still pretty impressive that what is essentially a computer generated singer has actually had hit singles in the charts.
        It's only a matter of time until someone links one of the numerous musi
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          there's a freeware version called Utau

          Didn't know about Utau. I need to go find out if there's a VSTi or DirectX version that will work with a DAW. I don't like having to run virtual cables.

        • 99.9% of lyrics are total nonsensical garbage anyway

          Are you listening to U2 99.9% of the time? :P

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tenton (181778)

          Admittedly, it uses an initial sample bank from a human singer for the seed phonemes (think an incredibly over the top application of autotune).

          For reference, Hatsune Miku's voice is done by Fujita Saki [wikipedia.org]. Hatsune Miku is not the only famous vocaloid, but she's the most famous (and the one getting the concerts).

          (dressed like Sailor Moon? Really? It's not even a sailor uniform. Bad article author, bad. Go sit in the corner.)

          Having seen some questions asked of other vocaloid actresses, it's an interesting and involved process in recording the voices; it's completely different than normal voice acting (and hours of recording work).

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @07:39AM (#33972192) Homepage Journal

        Gorillaz have been around since 1998. They are mostly 2D though.

        There's a guy(?) out named "Justin Beiber" and he's one dimensional.

        Actually, I don't know if he's out yet or not.

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @03:12AM (#33970994)

      Attempts to use the Hatsune Miku vocaloid to do anything in English are usually hilariously awful.

      Captain: What Happen?

      Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.

      Operator: Main screen turn on.

      ....and so on

    • by fuzzix (700457)

      Erm... yes, that's great and all. Except Hatsune Miku has been around since 2007, and versons of the the Vocaloid software that powers "her" has been around a good bit longer (since 2004 or so, I think). I'm pretty sure I heard reference to special-effects-heavy concerts more than a year ago.

      Precisely. Japan's latest rock star is a discovery of the Whitman Campaign [twitter.com]. Jerry Brown knows what I'm talkin' 'bout.

    • English songs (Score:4, Informative)

      by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @06:04AM (#33971788)
      Hatsune Miku can do English songs fairly well if the people using her are smart enough, some of them are fairly listenable. As she only sings Japanese syllables she's always going to have a bit of a Japanese accent. Here's a sample of some of the better done ones, some:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HATpOha7DFg [youtube.com] - Heaven is a place on Earth
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaSZ0siQjXA [youtube.com] - Never ending story (duet with an english vocaloid)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6m2NzdN7o0 [youtube.com] - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      there are Vocaloids which can handle English much better

      I've used Vocaloid in music production for English since 2008. It's a pain to work with, but you can get pretty good results. Especially with backing vocals.

    • by Thelasko (1196535)
      I thought it wasn't news because the record companies have been using puppets [wikipedia.org] for years. [wikipedia.org] What is news is that they're honest about this one.
  • Oh well so much for that starving artist spiel
    • by zalas (682627)

      You can think of Hatsune Miku as the artist, or you can think of her as an instrument and the voice manipulator as the actual performer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:51AM (#33970634)

    Really? What stadium?

    I mean just a little reality check here.
    1. "She" isn't, and has never been in any of the top music 50 charts in Japan.
    2. I just asked around, nobody in my office has ever heard of this. (My Japanese office... full of IT workers...). Maybe someone who:s not here has heard of her, but ... that would be "I heard of her" not "oh my god she's so popular..ponies..". Sheesh.

    For J-Pop, Perfume (and that stupid ABK group) are popular right now. Utada Hiraru and Amuro Namie continue to release hits and refuse to go out of style. There are a lot of others, but nobody (Except perhaps extreme nerds who specialize in that kind of stuff) knows who Hatsune Miku is.

    Only online can stuff be blown so out of proportion by people who don't even live here.

    • by unity100 (970058)
      you arent an 'extreme nerd' then ... a very unfortunate statement to make, in slashdot ...
    • by zalas (682627)

      The 39 Miku day concert was held in Zepp Tokyo, which according to Wikipedia, has a capacity of around 2000 seats. It's "merely" a concert hall, not a stadium, but I think that's pretty good for a voice synthesizer.

      The debut album featuring Hatsune Miku by supercell managed to top out at #4 on Oricon's weekly rankings for music sales when it was released. Also, if you take a look at Joysound, a major karaoke vendor in Japan that added Vocaloid songs to their catalog, Vocaloid songs occupy 9 out of the top

    • Goto Akihabara, grab ANY person, at random, and get educated.

    • by Aereus (1042228) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @04:24AM (#33971382)

      I'm not really into the whole Vocaloid thing, but I remember there was something about a CD of Vocaloid music topping the charts there last year or such. A little Googling comes up with this excerpt:
      http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=211424 [myanimelist.net]

      Granted, it was only for one week, but still considering the "singer" is computer-generated, it's interesting.

      "According to Oricon news, VOCALOID Hatsune Miku's album "EXIT TUNES PRESENTS Vocalogenesis feat. Hatsune Miku" has won the top in the weekly album CD sales ranking for May 17th - May 23rd. It's for the first time that a VOCALOID CD is ranked first in the weekly CD sales ranking. The album also includes the songs of other VOCALOIDs such as Kagamine Rin, Len, Megurine Luka, Meiko and Kaito. The cover illustration was drawn by Miwa Shirow.
      Note that the sales of the CD, 23,000 copies, are the smallest number in Oricon's history among all the top sellers of the weekly CD rankings, reflecting the shrinkage of the CD market in Japan."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by slb (72208) *

      Really? What stadium?

      What about the Saitama Super Arena in front of 25'000 people during the Animelo festival ?

      1. "She" isn't, and has never been in any of the top music 50 charts in Japan.

      Vocalogenesi ranked #1 [vocaloidism.com] on the Oricon, and dozens of Vocaloid albums mostly featuring Miku all were ranked in the top 20. In which Japan are you living ?

  • by acedotcom (998378) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:51AM (#33970636)
    So Sharon Apple in Macross Plus was a hologram. She was an experimental AI but her emotions were provided by a human. Eventually she fell in love and gained her own emotions, and then tried to try to kill everyone after hacking into every military computer on the planet...

    what was my point......OH YEAH...dont trust singing Japanese holograms.
    • by Ecuador (740021)

      Judging from how the crowd responds on the linked video, it is interesting to see that Sharon Apple is not far away. Well, I mean it is not far away temporally, since spatially it is still a few thousand km away, in Japan.

      BTW whoever has not seen Macross Plus, should do so immediately (there is a more detailed-plot 4 episode version and a more action oriented movie version), it is one of the best anime ever (especially if you had watched Macross/Robotech as a kid).

  • Modern Women (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:02AM (#33970682)
    Pop idols have a huge tendency to disappoint their fans with their human behavior and accompanying personality deficiencies. Lo and behold, they're not actually idols. I can see the appeal in having a digital, holographic entity to fawn over. She'll never let the fan down with any scandalous behavior, she'll always have a perfect voice, and she'll never age.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EdIII (1114411)

      So I take it that also means we will never get to see her holographic koochie when she when is trying to get out of her holographic car and forgot to put on her holographic panties?

      • by zalas (682627)

        Since she's virtual, and the creators openly encourage fan-art... you can see where this is going... ;) Besides, all it'll take is some bored Japanese guy willing to add more "details" to the Miku 3D models in Blender...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Reidsb (944156)
      Yeah, until we get news footage of her illicit tryst with an underage defrag program.
      • by zalas (682627)

        It's okay, because she's already under-aged to begin with. (16) :) By the way, Norton Utilities is usually anthropomorphized in Japanese otaku culture as a creepy old man with a stethoscope...

    • she'll always have a perfect voice

      No, she never will. Watch the video: that thing is awful, almost painful to listen. It sounds like a little girl autotuned to hell and back again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zalas (682627)

        So, you're saying she sounds like capsule [wikipedia.org] and perfume [wikipedia.org]? :p

        On a more serious note, a (paid) update to Hatsune Miku gives her 6 additional voicing styles. I find that one of them might be able to sound somewhat like a real person if programmed well. Megpoid, using the same Yamaha sound engine, sounds a lot more realistic than the other Vocaloid2 products, and also doesn't require as much tweaking.

    • Pff. You ever heard some of the Kermit interviews? That's some serious foul language right there. Can't seem to find the clip at the moment though
    • by ultranova (717540)

      Just like crashes are (the major) part of the excitement of car sports, scandals are a part of pop idol culture. An idol who never does anything controversial is hopelessly bland and boring. Let's not forget where the word "idol" actually comes from, and how those myths usually played out.

    • They'll discover that while celebrity behavior disappoints fans, it's also a crucial part of the entertainment. In five years, you'll be able to watch YouTube videos of Hatsune Miku getting drunk at a party, slapping a fan, and lifting her top for Virtual Girls Gone Wild.
  • by xbytor (215790)

    I'm just sayin...

  • A good Hatsune Miku (Score:3, Informative)

    by afree87 (102803) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:10AM (#33970724) Homepage Journal

    Let's use this thread to post our favorite Miku videos.

    Song of Grass and Snow [youtu.be]
    Sinners in the Hands of God [youtu.be]
    My Life is Over [youtu.be]
    No Thank You [youtu.be]
    Kurutto Odotte [youtu.be]

  • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:13AM (#33970738)

    On the other hand, it's not really that different from Gorillaz.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Stormwatch (703920)
      Gorillaz is a real band hiding behind cartoon characters; Miku is completely computer-made, even the voice (albeit sampled from a real voice actress). Also, Gorillaz's character design is far cooler!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kernhe (114975)

      It's like Justin Bieber - an artificial product of the entertainment industry. OK you can't reboot Bieber.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zmollusc (763634)

        That implies you may be able to boot Bieber. Good news for music lovers with big clumpy boots.

  • And why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:15AM (#33970748) Journal

    Music is entertainment. If we can feel for an trash compacter or a deer, then why not for an animated human being? Not real? TV/Movies ain't real. Every pop-star opens a concert with "I am so happy to be here, you [insert locale here] are the greatest". Can't be true so the sentiment is false, fake, a performance.

    Is the best singer selected, or the one with the prettiest face. Sometimes the producers get lucky and get both and then she turns into a publishity disaster because she can't keep mouth shut or her legs closed.

    Remember "My fair lady"? You can clearly hear that the singing is dubbed over. But it works because Hepburn is pretty and acts the part out well but can't sing. Well, not good enough. We all were so happy for Susan Boyle, but lets face it, the reaction initially is what keeps any producer from attempting this for real with an unknown. Do not like it? Then change human nature. Even opera stars got to look the part these days. Used to be fat old women singing the parts of beautiful young girls and nobody cared if it was the bearded lady as long as she had shaved recently.

    So, these producers got the perfect star. She won't cause a sex scandal, won't get sick, won't refuse to sign a new contract, can perform in two places at the same time, doesn't need rest, won't forget her underwear unless scripted etc etc.

    Yes, some of you may hate the fakeness and prefer "real", but as said, what is real? Most music gets polished before release and is written to be sold. So the artists writes what he thinks will sell. Only a tiny handful produce music absolutely only because they want to with not a single thought for the audience. And even if that audience is a non-paying one, pandering for regonizition makes the product just as "fake". That is why so many people complain about the Tate. Why does every piece of non-commerical art have to to be so bloody big? Status? If you produce art for the status, you are no different then when you make something for the mass market.

    If you do not like this type of music, don't listen to it. There will be other types produced, so why begrudge those that like this their own music? It is still written, still performed, still sung. What is fake about it? I think a lot of people are upset because they can see the mechanism in the Turk they thought was real. All pop music is fake, this one is just a bit more obvious about it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xnpu (963139)

      You give people too much credit. People like watching TV because they think that much of what they see *could* be real. The very fact that people pick up memes, mimic behavior, etc. from TV means they identify with the fiction they're presented.

      Knowing that a role is played by a hologram instead of an actor makes it harder to identify yourself with it. At least initially. I expect most people to get over it quite quickly.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Knowing that a role is played by a hologram instead of an actor makes it harder to identify yourself with it.

        People seem to identify just fine with Wall-E.

    • by Negatyfus (602326)
      I don't like pop music for that reason. Not all music is fake. Really!
    • by Nursie (632944)

      "Yes, some of you may hate the fakeness and prefer "real", but as said, what is real? Most music gets polished before release and is written to be sold. So the artists writes what he thinks will sell. Only a tiny handful produce music absolutely only because they want to with not a single thought for the audience. And even if that audience is a non-paying one, pandering for regonizition makes the product just as "fake". That is why so many people complain about the Tate. Why does every piece of non-commeric

      • by ultranova (717540)

        If that's your opinion, well great. I'll go for talented musicians putting their hearts and souls into the music

        Suppose I'm a talented musician and programmer, putting my heart and soul into writing a singing and dancing program? Is that really any different than using an electric guitar as my tool?

    • Rule 34 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hartree (191324)

      She won't cause a sex scandal

      You're joking, right?

      Methinks you underestimate the Otakus. Just do a search on "Miku porn".

      Another example of Rule 34. If it exists, there is porn of it.

      Not only animated, but apparently live action cosplay as well.

  • Ridiculously stale news, but cool nonetheless. I think the news source must have been looking at Google's slideshow of stuff on the internet - Miku and her concerts were on the third or fourth page or so.

    /me stale tags, moves on

    • by zalas (682627)

      I'm guessing it got brought to light because Sega and the software creators put on a series of showings of the Blu-Ray concert footage recently in the US.

  • Somehow she seems more real than Britney Spears ...

  • Could have used this back in the late 80s...Wouldn't have had to wait 3 hours for some pretentious asshole named Axl Rose to finally get on stage. He could have sent his virtual presence up there instead.

  • by Kwitset (1557153) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @05:45AM (#33971700)
    I find the concept of a holographic band to be outrageous. Truly, truly, truly, outrageous.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sammyF70 (1154563)
      Only the singer is synthetic. The band itself looks pretty real to me. Basically, it's like Miley Cyrus, just that it's a bit more honest about autotuning the vocals.
      • Why can they auto-tune the vocals, but can't do a damn thing about the "smoker's rasp"?

        • by sammyF70 (1154563)
          Oh come on .. they probably had to hire a few developpers just to write the filter to ADD that ;)
  • Most pop artists today are 1 dimensional douche bags, so having a 3 dimensional pop artist is actually a step up from most of the pop artists being pushed on us.

    Also, Hatsune Miku has been an incredibly popular subject in the resin figure modeling world. She's been around for a few years, I had no idea that she was a pop star though, I just thought she was the "logo" for some sound software.

  • NG Resonance (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can't be the only one reminded of NG Resonance from Deus Ex: Invisible War...
  • Did anyone else notice that the lead guitarist, bassist, and drummer are all left-handed? A little odd, or the video is flipped.
  • Come on, Eve from Megazone 23? Anyone? Sheesh, I must be too old for Slashdot already... Get off my lawn!

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