A Hologram Brought Ronald Reagan Back To Life
A hologram is an image that appears to be three dimensional and which can be seen with the naked eye. Unlike 3-D or virtual reality on a two-dimensional computer display, a hologram is a truly three-dimensional and free-standing image that does not simulate spatial depth or require a special viewing device. Holograms can now also be entirely computer-generated to show objects or scenes that never existed.
Holograms attracted widespread attention in the United States in 2012, when a digital rendition of the late rapper Tupac Shakur was projected onto a stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. In a first-of-its-kind exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, the 40th commander-in-chief appears as a hologram in three vignettes.
Dan Lux, a Northeastern University graduate, helped produce the hologram exhibit. Lux said that he believes Reagan would have probably appreciated the exhibit, as he was a politician who was always pushing for technological advancements, whether it was the NASA program or the Strategic Defense Initiative.
“He would have loved the fact that it merges an element of Hollywood production with technology and in pioneering new grounds.”
Lux is one of nearly 70 people who were involved in the complex effort to bring the beloved president to life in digital form. It took him and his team two years of planning, experimenting, and overcoming significant technological hurdles to design the most realistic three-dimensional portrayal of a president to date.
The hologram was produced with the help of computer-generated imagery created by Digital Frontier FX and a 19th-century special effects technique called Pepper’s Ghost.
Unlike the iterations preceding it, such as the holographic performances featuring Tupac or Roy Orbison, the Reagan hologram can be seen from a close distance and it plays continuously all day at the exhibit.