Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Ronald Reagan 3D Hologram: Latest Political Campaign Gimmick?

Slated to be unveiled in the 2012 Tampa Republican Party National Convention before it was “upstaged” by Hurricane Isaac, is the Ronald Reagan 3D hologram nothing more than the latest political campaign gimmick? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Rumor has it that the Ronald Reagan 3D hologram wasn’t used in the 2012 Tampa Republican Party National Convention because the GOP top brass are afraid it might “upstage” a “one-dimensional” Mitt Romney or there was also a rumor that the GOP top brass never got time to obtain insurance for the “high tech” equipment to be used to run the Ronald Reagan 3D hologram during the Republican Convention in Tampa. Some US Republican Party insiders even say that the more “moderate” members of the GOP top brass are afraid that the Ronald Reagan hologram could be used for partisan purposes. But anyway, does the Ronald Reagan 3D hologram truly represent the latest in the somewhat arrested development of 3D holography technology – or nothing more than mere “political campaign gimmickry”? 

To older folks closely following development trends in 3D video technology, some of them might be mistaken that the Ronald Reagan 3D hologram could be the cutting edge in the still young science 3D holography because back in May 24, 1991, NASA first tried out its newly developed 3D laser scanning technology on Ronald Reagan – who was then happily retiring in his Santa Barbara, California home, making him the first ever US President to get a 3D holographic portrait. Whether the 3D data obtained by NASA back in 1991 was used on the 2012 3D hologram of Ronald Reagan the GOP top brass didn’t say. But an article in the New Scientist magazine says that the technology behind the 3D hologram of Ronald Reagan to be used in Tampa was the very same one used on the posthumous Tupac 3D hologram featured in the Coachella show. 

Both the Tupac and Reagan 3D holograms used a technique called Pepper’s Ghost projection technology – a holographic imaging technique which was already around since the 1800s. Both CGI and live footage mix were used by the 3D holography technicians at Digital Domain – James Cameron’s visual effects company – to create the Tupac posthumous concert 3D hologram and the posthumous “live action” 3D hologram of Ronald Reagan. Pepper’s Ghost technology works by partially reflecting light off a piece of glass from a hidden room. This kind of 3D projection technique only works well in convention halls or exhibition spaces that are not too brightly lit by ambient sunlight; although 3D holograms of some current controversial politicians are probably going to be frequently used as a crutch to steer the public away from their one-dimensional nature.