When it comes to lavish and extraordinary shows of adoration for his wife, Kanye West is a force to be reckoned with.
In 2016 for Mother's Day, Kim Kardashian-West received a casual wake-up call by none other than a group of female violinists and cellists performing in their living room. And for Valentine's Day in 2019, Kanye asked Kenny G to serenade his leading lady in a room full of roses.
Then it comes as no surprise that when Kim celebrated her 40th Birthday on a private island this year, Kanye stole the show once again with an unbelievable gift of a hologram of her late father, Robert Kardashian, presented on a Holopops Ultra Display System.
We sat down with Liz Berry, CEO of Hologramica and inventor of Holopops for her to talk us through the technology behind the magical and thoughtful gift.
Liz explained, "Hologramica produces a lot of holograms, but mostly on a large scale in professional event spaces for which we usually design a bespoke solution.
“Lockdown and a remote, unknown hotel venue presented a unique set of challenges to creating what absolutely had to be a remarkable and powerful hologram experience. It demanded a high-quality solution that could travel on small planes to the island, and was simple to assemble, as the on-site team would not have seen or used the system before.”
Holopops Ultra was the obvious choice. It was designed to be portable and easy to rig by two people in just a couple of hours. Holopops just works, putting stunning life-size holograms into small spaces very cost-effectively.
The system is composed of a patent-pending 3D Holonet; a highly reflective yet transparent surface which creates bright and convincing holographic effects, an Optoma ZH500UST ultra-short throw projector, a handful of lights, and an all-in-one housing and frame, which incorporates further proprietary technology to control unwanted projection spill which would otherwise ruin the effect.
Liz explained, "The Holopops concept is 18 months old, and was driven and created off the back of the older Optoma ZH400UST ultra-short throw laser projector.
“As the inventor of the Holonet projection surface, it quickly became apparent to me that having a portable frame system would be convenient for demos and testing. That done, I started looking for a 4000lm projector that could create a 2m high image for life size people on the framed Holonet.
“For technical reasons I needed an ultra-short throw, and wanted a laser. The issue was I couldn’t find a compact projector that could actually focus a picture 2m high - until I found the ZH400UST. The spec says it will do ‘over’ 100 inches diagonal – that’s a very modest claim. We were using it at 160 inches – although that’s really pushing its limit! It was placed on the floor in front of the 3D Holonet, and over the following months, a portable, self-contained product evolved around it.
“We were very excited when the ZH500UST was announced because we were hoping along with 25% extra brightness, there might be a bit more range in the lens, and we weren’t disappointed. We immediately embraced it.
“During lockdown we worked hard upgrading Holopops to Holopops Ultra, adding a stronger frame allowing the projector to be rigged in the air, and a smart outer soft shell. We had only finished this work by a few weeks when the call came in from our clients Kaleida for the Kardashian party. It was such short notice we had to send the prototype – the one and only unit we had!”
Liz concluded, "The show was an incredible debut for Holopops Ultra, and obviously we were very happy that Kim was so pleased. We don’t normally like to make our clients cry, but we make an exception for tears of joy!
“The reason we were able to execute this hologram so successfully is because of the ZH500UST. The list of benefits is endless. It’s so discreet: quiet, compact and lightweight, and the off-axis projection path allows the projector to be rigged above the top of the image, tucking it up into the roof above audience head-height. It has spectacular brightness, and an impressive ability to focus a very large picture, giving a sharp, life-size image. These features are central to the success of the Holopops Ultra."
In the past, Hologramica’s holograms have typically been used for events and exhibitions such as BASE Hologram’s ground-breaking Whitney Houston Hologram Tour, and GM’s astonishing holographic reconstructions of iconic vehicles at the CIIE expo in Shanghai. However, in recent times where connection - or rather the lack of being able to connect in real life has created a surge in demand for virtual meetings, and live holograms offer enormous benefits over screen-based presentations.
Liz commented, “The reaction of Kim and her sisters to Kanye’s unique gift demonstrates the power of communicating by hologram. Robert Kardashian was obviously pre-recorded content, but by utilising broadcast technologies, we can also create real-time, life-size holograms for business use. The ability to see and read body language as well as hear the words allows a far more effective messaging, and it’s an area in which we’re experiencing a lot of interest. Talking to live holograms sounds like science fiction, but it’s science fact, and by using Holopops, it just works”.