Hopefully you’ve enjoyed a nice, long Labor Day weekend. Maybe you even did some traveling, or went to a wedding. On the other hand, if you’re like many who are still hesitant to get back to such activities because of the relentless spread of Covid-19, you may have opted to stay in your own neighborhood and forego those things. Since life can’t always wait, some events like weddings are now taking place in smaller groups with options for virtual attendance via technology: video calls or online streaming of ceremonies. One groom took the technology to the next level with a surprise hologram visit for his bride.
Restricted Wedding Plans Turned Creative
Toronto residents Jeff Gallant and Brittany Smith originally planned to have their wedding in May, at an indoor venue. They ended up postponing it until August in hopes of declining Covid cases; following public health guidance, they changed the location to an outdoor one. Still, when the date came around, their bridesmaid Sarah Redington was unable to travel from London to be at the wedding. Searching for a creative solution, Jeff thought of beaming her in as a hologram. He searched for a company that had studios both in Toronto and London, and he eventually chose ARHT Media. Working with them, Sarah was able to deliver a pre-recorded toast as well as a live visit during the wedding.
How Does a Hologram Work?
Many of us have seen this in movies or imagined such instantaneous transport in our heads, but how does a hologram work in real life? ARHT Media makes these meetings happen by capturing the presenter (or bridesmaid) in one of their studios and transmitting their speech and movements through the internet. The receiving location uses projection equipment to deliver that futuristic presence to the room. Because of light projected through at different angles, the viewer’s two eyes help create a 3D perception of the image. Audio is incorporated to create a lifelike representation of everything the presenter is doing in real time.
On the presenter’s end, that image is captured with the help of a green screen in the studio. For a pre-recorded hologram message like Princess Leia’s to Obi-Wan Kenobi via R2-D2, this can be done ahead of time if necessary. And for an even more impressive live appearance, the presenter can view the recipients through a video call while on the green screen stage, interacting in real time, like Sarah did with Brittany and Jeff. The person presenting also sees a monitor showing his or her own image. It’s like a giant FaceTime meeting for the presenter. For the recipients, it’s truly spectacular.
This technology is still so novel that it managed to take Brittany by complete surprise at her wedding. But it is becoming more of a possibility for more frequent use, particularly in business applications. Virtual conferences and presentations are likely to be the most common places that holograms make a debut. Potential is also big for entertainment and tourism—just imagine a haunted mansion where the apparitions converse with you. The degree to which this actually becomes mainstream has yet to be seen, but the technologies are definitely being created. From Microsoft’s Metaverse to headgear-free holograms from the emerging Light Field Lab, big efforts are being made to construct the kinds of interactions that ARHT Media did for this wedding.
Hopefully it won’t be for the same reasons, but maybe one day you’ll show up as a hologram somewhere too. In the meantime, you can catch a glimpse of Sarah’s hologram appearance in this video segment from the wedding.