Uses for Holographic Projection

Holographic projection is a brilliant new technology. Its applications are many and are multiplying. Here’s a look at the recent state of the art.

History of 3D Illusion

Pepper’s Ghost was a nineteenth century theatrical trick for producing live ‘ghosts’ on stage. An actor in costume stood offstage under lights. His illuminated figure was reflected off an angled glass on a darkened stage. So, Pepper’s ghost appeared eerily on stage.
Holograms are even more magical. Two rays of light carrying different wave information cross to produce a three-dimensional figure made of light. Walk around it, and you see the hologram from every angle, as if you were walking around the original figure.

3D Technology

Audiences are familiar with 3D technology, especially in the movies. Wear the special glasses and see screen figures shoot forward or float in space. The audience doesn’t have to wear glasses to see holographic projections. The 3D effect is apparent to the naked eye. Everyone sees it at the same time. It’s even possible to project a holographic figure that moves. AV technicians film the figure in action or use prerecorded video and apply holographic special effects in post-production.

Holographic Personal Appearances

A 3D holographic projection of a full-sized person is an already established reality. In 2008, Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, made a virtual appearance at the World Congress on Information Technology. Gates was reproduced on stage as a holographic image and gave a speech. In 2012, at the Coachella Music Festival, holographic special effects were used to bring the 3D image of rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996, back on stage for a performance with Snoop Dogg.

Uses for Holographic Projection

New and ever-advancing technology has made holographic projections available in a wide range of applications.

• Medical illustration and animation
Educational conferences and research presentations can make use of 3D holographic imagery to display visual information that can be studied from every angle. Live 3D images have already been used during surgery. Holograms have been used by surgeons to analyze the hearts of their patients as the surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures.
• Video conferencing
It is possible to bring the chairman of the board into the room virtually and in 3D with holographic video technology. The CEO can come in and give a speech, even if he is tied up in another city. If a keynote speaker is unable to attend, she can appear and give her talk as a live telepresence.
• Entertainment
Holographic projections combined with projection mapping and other digital displays have totally rearranged the possibilities for arena staging. Light shows can have depth and movement never possible before now. At the ABBA Museum in Stockholm, visitors can enter a holographic ABBA show and take home a video of themselves performing with the band.
• Ad campaigns
Nike used holographic cubes to create a 3D ad campaign in Amsterdam in 2013. Inside the transparent boxes placed around the city, were 3D full-color images of a Nike shoe in motion which could be seen from all sides. The campaign was the first of its kind.
• Trade shows
Product launches, demos and branding can have a huge impact with holographic technology. Virtual figures can introduce the products and themselves. Holograms of products will attract attention. Holographic imagery is still at the stop-you-in-your-tracks technological marvel phase.

Audiences like to be entertained, even—or especially—if they’re at a planning meeting or convention. Technical directors are not the only ones who can captivate with 3D imagery. As the technology develops, it will be interesting to see where holograms will perform next.