From Sci-Fi, to Sci-Fact Holographic video blends the digital with the physical

Holographic video might still seem like the stuff of Star Wars to many, but the advertising industry is abuzz with the potential that this technology holds and is already exploring how this can enhance brands.

With scientific developments, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, moving fast, many people believe holographic video has the power to break down the walls between technology and people. Immersing users within the digital world via a wearable see-through display unit, the HoloLens, and holographic video technology more generally, could change how we interact not only with brands, but with everything and everyone.

However, for the time being, holographic video display units and live events are the ideal experimenting ground for the technology.

The science behind holographic video is relatively complex; whereas rendering a 2D image into a hologram has been possible for a while, the ability to render video has hitherto been laborious and expensive. Now, researchers at a university in the US, have developed the technology that could make holographic video larger and cheaper. Science Daily explains, stating “It’s all about manipulating light. Three of the primary methods include: reflection, refraction and diffraction. In this case, diffraction is the key, and essentially enables lines — almost any type — to bend and filter light.” And with the 3D projection platform ‘Holocube’ meaning brands can easily and relatively inexpensively create holograms to showcase their products, the technology is becoming far more widespread.

American food brand Mondelez this summer launched a holographic ad campaign in supermarkets across the US. Through product endorsements with the American soccer league, the company beamed holograms of rotating footballs from supermarket shelves housing their products. The ability for brands to be able to create small-scale holograms in this way could ultimately change our interactions with products in such situations, with products literally leaping out at us.

On a larger scale, brands have been taking advantage of Holocube and hologram technology for a number of years. In 2013 Nike launched a 3-D holographic ad campaign on display boards around Amsterdam, with a rotating image of a new product seen on billboards across the city. And if Freddie Mercury or Elvis can be resurrected for live tours with their former bandmates, there is huge potential for brands to use this technology for live events, as exemplified through this Alexander McQueen show featuring a hologram of Kate Moss parading down the catwalk.

So with some predicting Microsoft’s HoloLens product will be rolled out in 2016, how will brands respond to more and more consumers interacting with holograms in their everyday lives, immersed in their own version of a digital world? But for now we can watch as brands bring their products to consumers in the most visceral way possible.

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