So just what do you mean by ‘hologram’?

If I had a dollar for every time we were asked if we could project a whale into a gym like this Special Effects company faked up, I’d have a gleaming pile! ..

NO seriously, its NOT real! This was just a computer generated video, people!

Holograms, in their original definition, are a light diffraction in a solid glass, and they don’t float in the air like ‘Star Wars’ Princess Leia projected out of R2D2.

Creating projection into thin air (like we saw in ‘Star Wars’) isn’t technically possible, but we humans are constantly inventing awesome ‘smoke and mirror’ techniques to make it look like we can.

So if you ask me if I can project holograms, I will say YES even though I know what I am able to do, is not technically a real hologram. The ways we can make fake 3D images apparently hover in thin air have been around for many years (indeed Peppers Ghost was invented in the 19th Century).

Here are few techniques that give a similar 3D-hover-in-air effect, that have applications from entertainment, to education.

Peppers Ghost

Musion Mylar Film

Rear Projection Scrim / “Pepper Scrim”

Holos Pyramid

Voxon 3D pixel oscillation

Holographic Propeller Fan

3D Glass Viewers

And of course you can get as holo as you like in VR headsets (new tech coming out all the time)

I am sorry to disappoint you that hologram projections into air aren’t possible, but photons are super clever and we may train them to do these tricks in future.

For now, if you really DO want a hologram (effect) in your projection show, be aware that the best smoke and mirrors effects all come about when we can closely control the ambient light. So lets use a nice dark space so we can really get it right.

The wonder of an illusion floating apparently in mid air… is brought about through good planning and very clever use of projection technology… light… and the right amount of darkness too.

Acknowledgement: The image of a warrior projected into the air at the top of this story, is from Yabarra – Gathering of Light. The projection onto a water screen creates a hologram type effect when the content and conditions are right. The image shows Elder Karl Telfer (First Nation custodian of the Adelaide Plains) holding the Kaurna shield as part of a cultural ceremony. The image ‘floating above the water’ was used by Karl and Yellaka group to share ancient knowledge about their cultural connection to the Karrawirra Parri (Torrens River).