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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: If a hologram breaks is the whole image visible in each piece?

No, each broken piece would let you see the image from its own unique perspective. Think of a hologram as a window. Anywhere you look through a window you see what's on the other side. If you were to paint the window black and scratch a hole in the paint on the left side of that window just big enough to look through, you would see everything on the other side of the window. Like looking through a peephole. If you then scratch another viewing peephole somewhere on the right side of the window, you still can see through, but from a different perspective. This is the same effect that each broken piece of a hologram would display. Just remember that if you have two broken pieces taken from opposite sides of the hologram, and you are looking at an object that looks differently from each side, one piece may let you see just one of those sides while the other piece will let you view the other side. So, you might say that each piece of a hologram stores information about the whole image, but from its own viewing angle. No two pieces will give you a view that is exactly the same.

Question: What media are used for holography?

There are different kinds of media:

The oldest - silver halide emulsion. It is an emulsion similar to camera emulsion, but of much higher resolution. These are excellent for wall pictures, portraits, etc.

Dichromate hologram (DCG) is made of special gelatin emulsion sealed between two glass plates. It is mainly used for small earrings, holo-watches, pendants, etc. It offers really bright and sharp imaging.

Embossed holograms are the ones on plastic with "silver foil". Embossed holograms are the lowest priced in large runs. They are used on credit cards, security applications, sports cards, stickers, etc. Embossed or "rainbow" holograms often are like multi-color. Color information is computer-generated before embossing process.

Photo-polymer is relatively new material. It gives very bright image on a flexible surface and requires easy development procedure. Used for bright wall holograms, keyrings, etc.  It may be transparent - which opens new possibilities.

Question: What are holograms used for?

Holograms have many uses in art, science and technology. Holograms are used on product packaging at many stores. Several magazines have featured holograms on their covers. Holograms are found on credit cards, drivers licenses, and even clothing to help stop counterfeiting. Computer-generated holograms allow engineers and designers to visually see their creations like never before.

Engineers also use holography to test for fractures and also for quality control during manufacturing. It is called holographic non-destructive testing. Holograms are used in many airplanes, both civilian and military. These holograms provide the pilot with critical information while looking through the cockpits window. It is called a heads-up display.

Artists use holography for artistic expression. Many artists feel that exploring the three-dimensional space and pure light that holography offers allows them to convey images and messages that were never before possible with traditional media.

Question: What words describe images appearing in a hologram?

If an image appears to be on the other side of the hologram, like looking through a window, it is called virtual. If an image jumps right out of the hologram and appears in front of the film, it is called real, since it has left the "virtual" world inside the film and entered the "real" world. When you flip a hologram over, the image is inside out and called pseudoscopic. Flip it back over and view it normally, right side out, and it is called orthoscopic. An image can be orthoscopic and real or orthscopic and virtual. Or an image can be pseudoscopic and real or pseudoscopic and virtual. An image can be both real and virtual, as in the case of an image that starts behind the film and then protrudes right out of it. Holograms can be made (especially by artists) that have both orthoscopic and pseudoscopic images in them. Any combination of these terms is possible.

Question: How are images made to jump out in front of the holographic film?

As just explained in the previous response, images that protrude out in front of a piece of holographic film are called real images. Virtual image holograms are used as the masters for real image holograms. Most real image holograms are holograms of holograms. The basic concept is like the idea that a negative of a negative is a positive. In effect, when you typically make a hologram it is orthoscopic (right side out) and virtual (the image appears behind the film). If you turn this orthoscopic and virtual image hologram over the image you see is both pseudoscopic (inside out) and real (in front) since the spatial relationship of where the image is seen has flipped. If you usethis image to record a second hologram, that image will be pseudoscopic (inside out) because you are recoding the pseudoscopic image of the first hologram and virtual. If you then turn it over it is orthoscopic (right side out) because an inside out image of an inside out image is right side out and real because each time you flip a hologram over you reverse from virtual image to real image.

Question: Can I make a hologram using my favorite photograph?

Yes, and no. It is possible to make a hologram of photograph, but photograph itself contains flat, 2-D image information. Therefore on the hologram it will also look flat. It would look just like a flat photograph floating in the space on front, or behind the frame. The third, missing dimension of a photograph cannot be reconstructed by holographic process.

Question: Can the holographic image be enlarged or reduced?

It is possible, but very complex and expensive. For this reason the natural choice is to create holograms in 1:1 size.

Question: How about full-color holography?

Most of holograms is made in one color - similar to black and white holography. The typical greenish - yellow color of a hologram is formed there because of interference of white light on holographic emulsion, development provides colour variations (from red to bluish). Multi-color holograms are available, but as it takes extremely complicated process and is time consuming, they are still rare and expensive. The embossed holograms are like multi-color, but it is not the "original" color - just a "rainbow" effect.

Question: Will a hologram last long?

Holograms are very durable, and with proper care will outlive any regular photographs or prints.

Question: How can I view a hologram?

If you purchased your hologram in one of the shops across your country, chances are it is a "white-light reflection" hologram. Reflection holograms are popular because you can mat and frame them, and hang them on your wall. In order to view your reflection hologram, you must provide a light source to light up the hologram. This light source is commonly located on your ceiling, such as track lighting. If you do not have track lighting, you may also use one of the inexpensive "clip-on" lamps.

You should place your hologram on the wall at a comfortable height - taking into consideration both adults and children. It is much easier for a tall person to bend down a little than it is for a shorter person to stretch up to see. A good starting point would be to have the center of your hologram placed between 150 cm and 170 cm on your wall, measured from the base of the wall.

Your light source should come into the hologram at a starting angle of approx. 45 degrees. Different holograms light up at different angles, but 45 degrees is a good place to start. Have someone hold the light in place, and then view the hologram from around 2 meters or so away from the wall. Adjust the incoming angle until you get the best view of the hologram.

It is very important that you provide the right bulb to light the hologram. The best bulb to use is a clear halogen bulb. If a halogen bulb is not possible, you should use a clear incandescent bulb. It is important that the bulb is clear and not frosted. A frosted light source will create a blurred hologram - as will any flourescent lighting.

If you'd like to display your hologram on a lamp table, replace your lamp bulb with a clear bulb and have the hologram angled at a 45-degree angle. While this will not give the quality effect of having the hologram on the wall with track lighting, it will allow you to enjoy your hologram if the other methods are not possible. Anyway, clear and pointed light source is preferable.