Graphics & Animations

Fake hologram projector

"Where did you get that hologram projector and how much does it cost?"

Hehe, I'm sorry, but it's only a joke. ;) The hologram projector itself is just a 3d-model and have never existed in reality... The animation was an exercise in integrating 3d-models into real video-footage.

Several people have been fooled by the animation over time, so I guess it is kind of convincing. On this page you will find:

The real thing

I know of no devices that are quite similar to the fictional hologram projector in my animation. But there is one that resembles it.

Go to homepage of IO2 Technology The Heliodisplay by IO2 Technology looks very impressive, though it only projects 2d-images into mid-air, not volumetric images. The images are also a bit fuzzy, since they are projected onto flowing air. On the plus-side, the display is fully animated and it is even interactive. Price: $18,600

I was made aware of the Heliodisplay after I created the animation, so my animation was actually not inspired by the Heliodisplay, despite the somewhat close resemblance.

Links to IO2 Technology and other companies offering hologram-related products:

People that were fooled

Many people have mailed me and asked questions about the hologram projector, that way revealing that I managed to fool them (or in some cases at least halfway fool them) that the hologram projector is real...

Mar 11 2004 from Artur
I'd like the name of that thing hologram projector and who makes it please

Mar 13 2004 from Mike
Came across your holographic video, and couldn't resist asking...where did you get it and how much did it cost? :)
And by the way...somee of the stuff you've animated here is almost too good to believe it was done entirely with POV-Ray. :) Great work.

Mar 22 2004 from Mason
Hey! What's up! I noticed that you said you got a hologram projector. If that's true then were did you get it? If you would tell me it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks a Bunch!

Mar 23 2004 from Patrick
Dear Rune:
I was wondering about your hologram projector. Did you really buy it, or is it just a fake animation? If it is real, where did you buy it? I have searched for hologram projectors and all that I can find is a lot of science fiction stories, nothing like the technology shown in the picture.

Mar 26 2004 from Marc
I saw your short video of a hologram of Earth on your web site. I was wondering where you got the hologram projector and how much it cost.
Thanks for your time,

Apr 7 2004 from Scott
SOOoooo C O O L ! ! !
How much does a gizmo like that cost? Does the company you bought it from sell any other units which will project even larger images (say, the size of a Lazy Boy chair or so)?!

Apr 9 2004 from Alonso
I work for the goverment City of LA. we would love to see this demo. We know this product is for Zebra Imaging. There is alot of profit for you if you do a demo for us many members think it is a lie. Prove them wrong. Leave a message at [phone number removed]. again a millon dollers are wanting if this is ture. i know the sofewave is but is the hardwave. The government will see.

May 6 2004 from Justin
I am wondering where I can get more information about the hologram projector you have as one of you examples? Will you send me vendor information so I can find out more about the product? Can you use 3d studio max objects or animations?
Thanks a bunch,

May 19 2004 from John
That's amazing that hologram projector! It's real? And for sale? How much was it, and where can I get one? =D
BTW Great 3D animations...and using POV too!

May 23 2004 from Phil
I looked at your impressive animation gallery today and was totally amazed by your 'Hologram Projector' movie. I didn't even know such a projector exists! It produces better quality than the ones they use in Star Wars. Please tell me where you can get it, and how much it costs! I tried to find it on the web but didn't succeed.
Man, I really thought hologram projectors were science fiction.
Thank you

May 24 2004 from Gianluca
I was very impressed by the hologram projector itself.
Could you tell me where can I buy it?
I would be interested in doing some holographic demostration of my models too.
Thank you.

May 25 2004 from Alyssa
I just wanted to Know how much and where did you get the projector ?
" G "

May 29 2004 from Devraj
Hello - borwsing ur site is most interssting - very impressive stuff u do. Also - saw your little hologram projector thing - that's well cool dude! Haha, where did you get it, and where can I get one? Can you laod your own models in - I made a model of my borhters head in Lightwave - would that work?
Anyway - keep up the good work, I shall be cheking back to see whats new.

Jun 14 2004 from Claudia
I like your hologram projector. I was wondering what brand name and model it was because I am interested in a hologram projector for projecting my 3D images as well. Do you have a link to the vendor you bought it from that you can share?

Jun 26 2004 from Kenny
Where did you buy the hologram projector? Please e-mail with a response.

Jul 7 2004 from Key Op
I am wondering, what is the name of the hologram projector in your march 9 news, and who makes it?
I have never seen anything like it, nor have I been able to find anything like it after searching.

Jul 23 2004 from Kiran
I was wondwering where have bought the hologram projector. i am in search of such kind a thing or even realtime projector. do you have website for me where checkout these things.
Best regards

Jan 16 2005 from Yanir
my name is YANIR and I was enthusing by this overpowering 3d hologram of the Earth. I have naver saw anything like this.
I would like very much to know where you bought this thing or even the name of the company or product and Iwould like to buy one
thank you
and I hop you answer me

Jan 19 2005 from Waldemar
Hello,I need send me price with shipping included to Buenos Aires Argentina by SPB, of this product.
Please answer me the mails.
Thank you

Jan 21 2005 from Charlie
Where can I get a hologram projector like yours?

Technical details of the video clip

Here is how the animation was created.

The original clip was filmed with my digital camera. It's not a digital video-camera, just a digital camera that can record a few seconds of film, and in a pretty poor quality.

I used a program called Icarus to track the motion of the camera in the clip. I downloaded the program for free, but unfortunately is is no longer available for download. It has turned into a commercial project, and is no longer free, even for non-commercial use. I feel lucky that I got ahold of it before this happened, because I can still use my copy, but the license forbids me to distribute the program. Here's some info on camera tracking products. Mail me if you know of other ones.

  • PFTrack is the commercial program that Icarus turned into. It costs 100, 170, $200 for students and teachers and 3000, 4500, $5000 for others. PFTrack has apparently been used by VFX supervisor Dennis Lowe (Cold Mountain, Harry Potter).
  • PFHoe is a Lite version of PFTrack aimed at hobbyists and CG artists. It costs 69, 85, $135.
  • SynthEyes is a competing product. It costs $349. SynthEyes has been used in numerous major Hollywood productions.

It took several attempts of filming my table before a clip was recorded that Icarus could track without major errors. That may be partially because of me not having fully mastered the program. I exported the camera motion data (the camera coordinates and alignment for each frame) into a "human readable" text file, which I then edited with regular expressions to get it into a format that POV-Ray could read. (What is POV-Ray?)

In POV-Ray I used the coordinates for the camera and set up a plane that moved together with the camera, where the individual frames from the original clip was projected to in such a way that they would exactly cover the entire image. In between the camera and the plane I placed my projector model (complete with hologram earth). This model does not move (except for the slow spinning of the earth model). Then i just rendered it all and made the frames into a (low quality) video using the program TMPGEnc (

As for the realism of the hologram projector model, I don't really used any special tricks. It just happens to be relatively easy to make a realistic plastic texture. I didn't use radiosity, image-based lighting or other advanced lighting effects. I actually just used four regular point lights. Two of those are area-lights (point lights with a fuzzy shadow) and the other two are fill lights (point lights with no shadow at all). I carefully manually placed them and gave them just the right colors. Of course, the low quality of the final video clip also helped with the realism.