Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute: behind the scenes with Intel x Grammys

Chris Burns - Feb 16, 2016
Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute: behind the scenes with Intel x Grammys

Lady Gaga has teamed with the minds at Intel to create a spectacular performance during the 2016 Grammy Awards, all in tribute to the late great David Bowie. Inside this performance you’ll see not only 9 movements, Space Oddity to Heroes, but a multisensory experience the likes of which only Gaga has aimed for before. Intel technology is leveraged to create visuals for the performance, ranging from 3D body tracking to projections for mid-performance costume changes.

Watch as Gaga’s first rendition is performed and projected images drip paint down her face, revealing the lightning bolt of Aladdin Sane. From there, a spider (which we must assume is from Mars) exits her eye and crawls back and forth across her face.

Gaga employs projectors, lights, and audio powered by Intel computers behind the scenes. This performance was so involved and required so much practice that the entire Gaga troupe had a life-sized replica of the stage constructed beforehand.

This production was big. This is just the beginning.

Behold, Gaga x Bowie x Intel x Grammys.

NOTE: If in the video below you don’t hear audio right away, tap the video and find the audio icon in the lower right-hand corner. Audio activate!

You’ll find Nile Rodgers nearby, he having been a collaborator with Bowie himself in one of his several past lives.

In this performance, you’ll find a variety of futuristic technologies “crafted uniquely for the performance” by Haus of Gaga and Intel.

• Digital Skin: An “animated face” was developed for Lady Gaga that enabled her to adorn a number of iconic looks all in a single performance in real time. Intel’s processors tracking Gaga’s facial movements while “digital makeup” was “adapted and displayed onto [Gaga] instantaneously.”

Of note: this was the first time this face projection technology was ever used in a live performance. The creator of the project speaks about the application (scanning and the like) in the documentary videos above and below.

• Interactive Video: Gaga was “given the power to control how she appeared” a massive on-stage LED wall. Gaga used Intel Curie module-based rings to generate real-time effects “as she rotated and animated her wrists and arms.”

Watch as doves fly from her hands and her body is duplicated backwards through infinity. Gaga sort of summons the Gorillaz in this portion of the performance, actually stepping offstage and allowing her computer-generated projection do the work up front.

• Robotics: “Gaga’s beautiful rose gold piano took on a life of its own”, moving the musical instrument with three Intel-powered robot arms, each providing “unexpected motion effects” to the performance.

You’ll really have to keep your eyes on the piano to see that it’s moving in unexpected sorts of ways. Watch the documentary once more to see the effort that went into making the piano dance.

Not just move, but dance.

• Interactive Holograms: Gaga’s Intel Curie technology-based rings and holographic display materials combined to create a fantastic “three-dimensional hologram of the music legend.”

In this portion of the performance, Gaga summons holographic images so effortlessly, it’s difficult to tell that it’s actually her who is controlling the show. Once you start to see hazy colors nearer the camera than Gaga, the holographic portion of the performance has begun.

To get a grasp on the full weight of the technology incorporated in this performance, we turn to Intel, and a documentary director by the name of Ruth Hogben.

This video is short and giant at the same time.

Utilized in the performance above are Intel Xeon, Intel Core, and Pentium processors – in computers as well as equipment. This is part one of a collaboration series between Lady Gaga and Intel that’ll continue on through the future.

Choreography with lighting, audio, and projection systems were made possible by the compute power provided by Intel, and the creativity and force of nature art instinct of Gaga.

Below you’ll see two Intel x Gaga video spots that – if you have cable and a television – you’ll more than likely have seen shown during your favorite TV programs more than once by now. Glorious lights aplenty.

Next you’ll see an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for the performance. You’ll see several of the elements that’ve appeared in the documentary above, here in their near-original form.

It’s a slightly more intimate take on the whole situation.

Raw, or rawer, at least.

Now we’ll just cross our fingers for another Gaga tour once her next album is released – this time with such spectacular on-stage madness that life will never be the same.

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