Holographic projection is a the new hot-topic in live event production. Like many new technologies there is a lot of confusion on the subject and the techniques used. This article has been drafted to provide clarity to this exciting new technology.
What is a Hologram?
A good general definition of a hologram is that it is an image that gives a 3d effect to the person that is viewing it. The phrase hologram is used to refer to several different technologies, which are outlined below:
This is the type of hologram that can be seen on the back of a credit card or on sports cards. This is created using a sophisticated laser imaging method. This style of hologram would rarely be used in live events so is beyond the scope of this article. However it does make for a great print method for invitations and fomal documents.
This is possibly the simplest form of holography and is the one that we have all seen on children stationary (expecially rulers) and occasionally in shop windows. This works by the front material of the printed media having a lense that shows a different image from different angles. This is technically quite simple and gives the impression of depth. This can be used for printed media in reception areas and on tickets. It does not have a place for live presentations
HOLOX is a proprietry system developed by SXS Events. The system works by using a special fabric that is transparent in an event environment. When content is projected onto this material the content becomes visible but translucent. The effect is one which impresses audience members as most people cannot see how it is done. The system has become very popular since its inception in 2012.
The benefits of HOLOX are that it can be used in almost any venue and the effect works from all viewing angles.
HOLOX content can be interactive with presenters to give an effect similar to that seen in recent science fiction films.
Technically-speaking HOLOX is not a hologram, but can be reasonably called a "holographic effect".
Pepper's Ghost is the original theatre ghost effect. It was developed in Victorian times and is now commonly seen in theme parks. Everyone has seen a peppers ghost effect but probably not noticed. Image looking through a window but simultaneously seeing a reflection of someone in the room with you - that is how pepper's ghost work. It is quite simple in theory. However to get it to work in a live event environment requires very powerful projectors and a large ceiling height. The other limiting factor of pepper's ghost is that it is only effective when viewing from straight-on. Angled viewing damages the illusion considerably.
Pepper's Ghost is also not technically a hologram. Marketing that suggests that it is could be said to be misleading.
This article was written by SXS Founder Johnny Palmer. Johnny has been in the Live Event Industry since 1998 and has developed a range of innovative production concepts for clients ranging from blue-chips to fashion designers. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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