Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Use of Holograms in "Logan's Run"

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Use of Holograms in "Logan's Run"

Article excerpt

A feature film about the future is a fitting vehicle to bring to the screen for the first time an exciting new technique which may well be the forerunner of future television and motion pictures

As I understand the story, it all began with Producer Saul David's son seeing a hologram called "THE KISS", which was on display at a kiosk advertising Orgone Cosmetics in The Cannery in San Francisco. Thinking his father might see a way of using it for his upcoming science-fiction film, "LOGAN'S RUN", he told him about it. Finding that Wilder's was the company that owned Orgone, the contact to make holograms for "LOGAN'S RUN" was made through them.

A few weeks before, I had been in San Francisco shooting film for, and learning the printing of holograms at, the Multiplex Co. This was the company that had made "THE KISS". I noticed on the bulletin board a newspaper article on Multiplex. The article was illustrated with a live model standing beside the "KISS" hologram. I felt that the hologram registered in a very interesting way, even though the photograph was on poor-quality newspaper print.

I decided to do some sort of registration experiments. The first opportunity came in the form of ½'' black and white video equipment. In the course of playing around in the studio, I turned the cameras on the row of holograms on display, and was amazed at the way they recorded - not entirely 3-dimensional, but not 2-dimensional either. I then put turning 360° holograms in front and turning 120°s behind them. Amazingly, each image retained its own identity. Lloyd Cross then stuck his hand inside the revolving 360°s to illustrate how the holograms recorded with live action. The result was very eerie.

By the time Saul David expressed an interest in the holograms, this tape had been mostly erased. On seeing the few remaining feet, he decided to use them for a scene in the film.

In talking with Director Michael Anderson, I found they wished to use the holograms in a scene where Michael York is separated into six different personalities, while still appearing as one individual. In the script I read, the author had proposed using something like six glass figures, but on seeing the above tape, decided holograms would be the perfect effect.

The scene consists of a "live" Michael York being captured by the police and taken to a chamber where a computer that has control of the consciousness of the whole population Is kept. The computer is also used to divide the personalities and then cross-examine each psyche of a captured runaway.

They decided to use six 360° head shots of Michael York saying the six truthful phrases that eventually break the power of the machine. I matted the lower part of his body with black velvet so that his head appeared to be a floating Greek bust. Lloyd Cross and I worked on the shooting. We got 18 takes in three hours, of which six would eventually be chosen. Since holograms are silent, Michael mouthed the words so the sound could be synched in later during the filming of the scene.

When a hologram is filmed as the subject in a scene, the angle at which the camera is placed is critical, since to view an image clearly, one must be within a certain viewing area. This is because, in order to see an image, one first has to illuminate the hologram with a 100-watt lightbulb, reconstructing the light waves as they were during the printing process. This reconstruction is what makes the image appear. The image appears, not in natural tones, but as a rainbow-colored image because the hologram acts as a prism breaking the illuminating white light into the basic hues of the spectrum. One may move up or down within a certain area to create the particular color desired for the image, ranging from violet to red. To create motion, the 360° hologram is mounted on a cylinder and rotated.

To make a Multiplex-type hologram, a black and white 35mm motion picture film is made of a subject on a turntable that is rotating once every 45 seconds. …

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