PRAGUE - Pop star Michael Jackson launched his first concert tour in three years on September 8th with a high-tech spectacle in Prague.

Many of the estimated 120,000 spectators on Prague's sprawling Letna Plain -- where Communist leaders once reviewed military parades -- stood awestruck as massive JumboTron video screens dominated Jackson's virtual-reality show.

``It's more of a video game than a concert,'' said one Prague student as she stood in the crowd .

At the climax of the opening -  a 3D virtual motion-ride through HIStory - Jackson exploded through the floor of his futuristic stage and emerged in gold-plated astronaut's armour to open the concert with one of his latest hits, "Scream".

The 4:15 animated ride, animated by See3 Inc. for Knotter/Palivoda Productions, was directed by Kenny Ortega (Dirty Dancing, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Opening/Closing Ceremonies) and art directed by Michael Cotten and was created in less than 6 weeks under the leadership of independent producer Glenn Abrams and a team of more than 11 animators working simultaneously from locations throughout the US.

The stage design was a blend of classical Greek temple and space station. Jackson matched the high tech wizardry with his formidable dancing skills, singing many of the hits of his 20-year career.

The three-month ``HIStory World Tour'' will take hundreds of tons of equipment to stops in Europe, Africa, Asia, but with no dates scheduled for the Americas. 



 





 
The animated virtual reality opening for the Michael Jackson HIStory Tour has now played, no doubt, before hundreds of thousands of screaming Jackson fans worldwide.

 

It was a monster 4 minutes and 14 seconds of high resolution 3D animation that, at its climax, cleverly revealed Michael Jackson exploding through the floor, live on-stage.


The animation was created by eleven different animators working simultaneously from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Jersey and New York. Created in just under six weeks for Knotter/Palivoda Productions and See3 Inc., the creative group was managed by independent producer, Glenn Abrams.




"An extended period of concept development and budget negotiations for what was originally 2 minutes of animation was followed by just two weeks of pre-production. During that time we created production offices in Santa Monica, and installed an ISDN phone line and a network of more than 14 Macintosh, PowerPC and SGI computers and other equipment.

It was a very difficult but rewarding project due to the extremely short production schedule, but it provided an opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the live entertainment industry including Kenny Ortega and Michael Cotten (who were simultaneously working on the opening and closing ceremonies for the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games) as well as some outstanding animators including lead animator Bau Struye from See3, Jeffrey Roth from Colossal Pictures, Nick Erikson, Colie Wertz, (who went on to work at ILM) Trish and Scott Meyer and Kory Jones who was animating Superbowl graphics during the day for Fox TV.



Despite being a coordination nightmare, the finished animation was beautiful and sounded great!"

 
HIStory

Michael Jackson Opens
HIStory Comeback Tour in Prague


06:31 Sep. 08, 1996

Michael Jackson’s HIStory Tour Opening 3D VR Animation



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