David Letterman, acclaimed comedian and host of the Late Show on CBS, has done something incredibly rare for American entertainment. He has invited Internet sensation Hatsune Miku to perform on his show on Wednesday, Oct. 8. Now the inevitable question that many are asking is “Who/what is Hatsune Miku?”
Hatsune Miku is one of the multiple personas associated with the Vocaloid program and by far the most popular among them. Vocaloid is a voice synthesizer program originally created by Yamaha before the rights were sold to Crypton Future Media. The program in question synthesizes different tones of human speech taken from Japanese voice actor Saki Fujita. Vocaloid is used mainly as a song making and editing tool, which begs the question, where does Hatsune Miku fit in all of this?
Well, as a marketing ploy. Crypton Future Media created and associated a character with each expansion of the original Vocaloid program. Hatune Miku is the original character. Now the question is, “how can David Letterman have a program perform a live show?” Thanks again to Crypton Future Media, the good people over at Crypton Future have done this many times before. With some clever projection techniques they can project fully animated life-sized models of up to eight separate characters at once.
These techniques were also used to create the Tupac “hologram”, using the term lightly because in reality the technique isn’t really a fully rendered 3-D image, as it is more accurately a series of projections layered with multiple projectors and given a 3-D appearance with the use of mirrors. After the animations are queued up, the technician or supporting band plays a song, and the voice synthesizer does the rest.
As stated, this was a rare occurrence for American audiences. This is due to the rather limited appearance of Hatsune Miku and support of Vocaloid outside of Japan. The only other notable live Hatsune Miku shows were when she was the opening act for Lady GaGa’s ArtRave: The Artpop Ball world tour for little over a month. Other than this short excursion Miku has been an entirely Japan exclusive star.
With the advent of YouTube this phenomenon has been shared with the outside world, and fans from all over the world have been spawned. With this big excursion to America, Miku could become popular enough for live shows here in the states. Support this by watching her experience Wednesday, Oct. 8 on the Late Show, which airs at 11:35 p.m.