peppers ghost 3d hologram

The Classic Pepper`s Ghost

Peppers ghost was invented in 1862 by inventor Henry Dircks. Inspired by the phantasmagoria performances (horror theatre that projected images of ghoulish images onto walls and using smoke to create eerie effects) he invented a technique of making a ghost appear on stage. He set up a booth at The Royal Polytechnic Institute where he met the director of the institute, John Pepper.

The initial invention required theatres to rebuild the space but with Peppers help the right modifications were made. They were now able to install the illusion into theatres without any actual structural work needed.

The first presentation of the effect was in Charles Dicken`s The Haunted Man. The idea was to present the illusion to the public, but the effect was so powerful they decided to keep it a secret.

Even though Dircks had invented the illusion, it was coined Peppers Ghost.

classic peppers ghost
classic peppers ghost

The Modern 3D Hologram

For the past 150 year Peppers Ghost has been used in side show acts such as the girl to Gorilla trick and various avant garde theatre productions. Now days it has been used extensively in theatre, music concerts, TV, advertising, and amusement parks such as the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. And not forgetting the modern magician. When creative minds get to work there`s no telling what the outcome will be.

From the audiences perspective illusions appear on stage and can vanish at will. Well what is really going on behind the scenes.

The process is a very simple one but now days uses the latest technology to maximize its effects. The early methods used glass that was angled at a 45° toward the audience. A strong light was shone on the subject that then reflected itself on the glass giving the impression it was on stage as a transparent being. Now days a polymeric mirror foil is used that cant burn and holes can be cut into the foil for creating further effects. Projectors such as the Panasonic PT-DZ21K that have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels are used. The effects now days are life like and super realistic. We are no longer restricted to the limitations of the appliance. Our only limitation now is the imagination itself.

3d hologram stage rigg
3d hologram technology

Americas got talent is an amazing example of a modern day Peppers Ghost production.

Musion performed this set in their London studios. Even though a projection is not by definition a hologram, the effects are amazing to say the least.

3D Hologram Projector Specifications

3D Hologram Projectors are ultra bright with a light output of around 20,000 lumens. They can display high definition imagery in areas that have alot of ambient light. They generally have cooling systems that eliminate noise levels. The resolution is around 1,920 x 1,200 pixels with aspect ratios of 16:10 or  16:9 and a total of around 6,912,000 pixels. At live events the ‘Low Video Delay’ is an important feature for projecting onto multiple screens or uneven surfaces.

3d hologram projector

Here is some fun ‘how to make a hologram on your phone’

All you need to create your own hologram is:

  • Any thin plastic
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • A printer
  • Glue (Ideally a hot glue gun)
  • A smartphone or tablet
3d hologram phone

Download the PDF and print out the stencil. Trace the shape onto the thin plastic.