The messages of the UAE’s Founding Father will resonate with people long after his death and this week they were brought to life with a 3-D hologram.
Computer graphic artists and 3-D experts spent 400 hours researching educational speeches made by the late Sheikh Zayed for the four-minute video that replicated his hand gestures and head movements.
“We wanted to create an emotional experience for people rather than just watching a video and so we used technology to bring back a speech. This creates a much more powerful impact,” said Hasan Hina, chief executive and co-founder of New Dimension Productions, a regional film and motion picture production agency.
“The archives of his speeches are in decent quality but with new technology we can push the boundaries further. The younger generation likes to make connections that are visual and interactive. They want to see something that looks modern and is engaging.”
An eight-member team watched hours of archived footage of Sheikh Zayed’s speeches and researched photos and video to study his tone and facial expressions. They chose a speech where he urged young people to work hard and strive for their country.
The main challenge was to craft a realistic hologram model by building in characteristics within the animation software. This was achieved by using 3-D modelling and visual effects.
In the speech in Arabic, Sheikh Zayed conveys a motivational lesson, “The truth is that life is a process of continuous work and struggle. As we advance, the world will be witness to our achievements and history will record them. You must work because work gives value.”
The need for the words to resonate across generations was key to choosing the address from dozens of speeches that the team watched from archival material.
“His message to everybody is to work hard. He encourages people to do so. We wanted to show how his vision continues to be relevant. The UAE we live in today took a lot of effort and vision and the young should appreciate this and feel the blessing it is to live here,” Mr Hina said, while declining to identify the organization that commissioned the project.
The company now aims to create the world’s largest hologram of Sheikh Zayed - at least 10 metres high - in time for National Day celebrations this year.
Mr Hina said the aim was to spread Sheikh Zayed’s message beyond the UAE’s borders during the Year of Zayed.
“We have a bigger vision for this project. This is a glimpse of what we have in mind to take the late Sheikh Zayed’s message much further than the UAE. This is because we share the love and respect that people of the country have for Sheikh Zayed,” he said.
“Holograms are usually created on stage but it’s time to introduce larger than life holograms of people from the past. These are the giants of our heritage and we want people to look up at them.”
The voiceover of Sheikh Zayed was provided by Abu Dhabi TV.
The production company was established in 2010 and moved its base to the UAE from Amman, Jordan two years ago.