“We decided to switch roles between atoms and bits,” PJ Pereira
explains. “In most lectures you see a professor made of atoms projecting
bits on a wall. But we decided to do it the other way: make a digital
representation of him, and instead of having a PowerPoint presentation,
have real people holding real props on the stage.”
The result was a
unique piece of theater. Negroponte was always a hologram. Objects like
his “slides” were often posters held up by stagehands. But the illusion
was so good that audience members found it extraordinarily difficult to
remember that Negroponte was not really there. To them, he looked all
too real, until he would disappear in a puff of smoke.
with your mind in a way that's hard to describe,” says Pereira. “When
you’re watching, you know he’s a projection, and every time something
strange happened, every time he picked up a 3-D element, you’d realize
you’d forgotten about [the illusion] and be surprised.”GO HUGE OR GO HOLOGRAM
mingling of digital and reality is not the point of the more public
uses of holograms. On a street or against a building, you want shock and
awe. No project demonstrates this better than Nike’s M8 NYC Flight
Event, which helped launch a new shoe for Carmelo Anthony. Taking place
between two piers on the Hudson River in October 2011, it was one of the
largest and most impressive holographic shows to date.
The idea was
conceived by Wieden+Kennedy's New York office and executed by
Philadelphia’s Klip Collective as a secret element of an elaborate
party; 2,500 guests showed up believing they were attending a
traditional launch event. They enjoyed food, drinks and an outdoor
concert. What they didn’t know was that floating on the river near the
pier was a water misting system that could create a massive holographic
The surprise began when Klip’s creative director Ricardo Rivera leaned into his microphone and said, “Cue the helicopter.”
of the air came a real helicopter carrying a real retired Navy Seal who
fast-roped down and dropped into the Hudson. The moment he hit the
water, an enormous holographic Carmelo Anthony appeared. He began
dribbling, dashing and dunking right on the river. Much of the trick
involved highly realistic splashes that made every footfall seem
Wieden+Kennedy and Klip Collective teamed up to create this three-story holographic
projection of Carmelo Anthony on the Hudson River.
“I don't think we set out to do a hologram or a
projection,” says Wieden+Kennedy creative director Brandon Mugar. “We
wanted to showcase an attribute of Melo’s game in a way that made sense.
We found a way that people could feel the power of his game, and
present it in a huge way.”
So what's next?
Real Star Wars-style projected holograms? Surprisingly enough, maybe.
Recently, the MIT Media Lab released a grainy, fifteen-frame-per-second
video of a true projected hologram of a graduate student playing
Princess Leia. A team from the University of Arizona created a similar
holographic projection and published a paper about it in Nature in November 2010.
are, advertising agencies will someday be sending 3-D projected
holograms dancing around Times Square. Or we could have holographic
friends to keep us company. Or even holographic, drooling, growling
Rottweilers to guard our houses (OK, that’s still a ways away). In the
meantime, there are plenty of good holographic shows to enjoy—and until
you see one, you won’t believe how cool they can be. CA