Will holograms be the next big media format? These aren’t the holograms you remember!

When Shawn Frayne was just 10 years old in Orlando, Florida, his dad took him to see back to the future 2, who charted the course of his lifelong passion for advancing hologram technology. He was fascinated by the holographic shark in the film and dreamed of one day making much more polished, attractive and realistic holograms. When Shawn was 14, his father helped him create a hologram animation studio in his bedroom and he made his first animated hologram. From then on, Shawn never stopped experimenting and perfecting his techniques. He enrolled at MIT, which offered the most advanced undergraduate studies related to holograms, because the then dean of MIT had a strong belief in the future of the field.

Fast forward to early June 2022 when Shawn’s hardware and software company, Looking Glass Factory, launched the world’s largest holographic display – the Looking Glass 65″, 4 times larger than any other visible 3D holographic display of the group. I was one of the first to see it and was amazed at how such a flat screen could convey so much depth and 3D perspective. All of the company’s systems allow large groups of people to see up to 100 different perspectives of realistic 3D content at the same time Holograms appear to float off the screen with realism and depth, and it’s experienced without headphones, eye tracking or glasses 3D.

The secret to Looking Glass Factory’s technology lies in proprietary hardware and software-generated optics that convey subtle shadows and light, similar to what the French painter Monet did when painting Rouen Cathedral under so many conditions. different lighting, and Leonardo da Vinci tried captured in his paintings. Shawn quoted the latter as saying, “the crowning glory of painting stems from light and shadow. The essence of good painting, and the key to making an object look three-dimensional, is to do the shading well,” and that is why Leonardo spent more time studying and writing about shading than about any other artistic subject.

Target users of Looking Glass hardware and software include individuals and businesses. The 65″ model is ideal for experiential marketing, 3D storytelling, engineering, design, medical and scientific visualization, R&D, and art, photography, and filmmaking. Springbok Entertainment just released a movie Zanzibar: trouble in paradise, the very first holographic film or documentary, in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. According to Brandon Zamel, CEO of Springbok Entertainment, “The massive increase in holographic size gives 3D storytellers the perfect canvas to push the boundaries of immersive experiences. It’s the start of a new way to experience cinema. But the technology isn’t just for movies.Users can use almost any 3D content, including the new capture capabilities of phones such as the iPhone X, 11 and 12, to create holograms using software and creation tools from Looking Glass Factory.These holograms can then be displayed on any size mirror;including the 7.9” Desktop Portrait model.

Looking Glass’ media player, HoloPlay Studio, easily views, edits and syncs holographic media and direct integrations are available for Unity, Unreal and Blender 3D authoring software and tools.

There are plenty of examples that prove the Looking Glass holograms are ready for prime time. I recently visited Louis Vuitton and Nike’s “Dream Now” exhibit in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, which used about 50 different holograms to display 3D sneakers. Using non-contact gesture recognition technology, visitors could zoom and rotate 3D collectible shoe images. The screens were also used in numerous experiential marketing activations with key brands at the Cannes Lions Festival. Other examples of brand marketing applications that we can expect to see more include outdoor advertising, retail facilities, trade shows and events, theme parks, and digital art galleries. Another indication is the diversity of heavy hitters, tech-savvy board members like Sabrina Kieffer, former SVP at Vimeo and COO of Skillshare, and Brenda Freeman, formerly at Turner Broadcasting, DreamWorks, National Geographic, Magic Leap and Arteza.

As always, I love discovering new media formats that reduce customer friction and deliver great immersive experiences. As this is just the beginning of the wide-scale adoption of holograms, it’s up to brands and their agencies to start exploring the opportunities that are only limited by our imaginations.

Luz W. German