interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

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interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

Postby Guest » October 22nd, 2003, 8:11 pm

Hello, all,
As a totally inept magic fan ( I mean I like magic, I have no talent to DO it) I have followed many intelligent & entertaining threads here-now I have a question:

I am a writer starting work on a short story about a team of magicians who create their illusions by interacting with animated holograms they project on stage. I know the technology isn't there yet (did I mention this was fiction?)
I was wondering how other magicians would feel --does it matter how the illusion is created as long as the audience is entertained or is there some code of ethics where using holograms would be considered sort of cheating? How would you feel if some new team came along that did this? Yes, they reveal to the audiences how their tricks were done. Hope that makes sense.

Questions? Comments? Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

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Re: interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

Postby mark » October 22nd, 2003, 9:56 pm

There are several items in your post worth touching on from a magical standpoint. That the group of magicians is working as a team, there would have to be a really good reason to do so. Magic isn't a 'team' sport, really. Holograms? No problem that the tech isn't there yet, it doesn't prevent their use in a fictional setting. Oh, and don't worry, the magician has no objection to cheating :) One item though, about informing the spectators about methodology - they wouldn't do it. Because you are writing fiction, and likely in third person, nothing prevents you from informing the reader of the fictional effect, but the magicians would not wish to do so. Give them some integrity and you will have not only an informed reader who know the secret because the narrator told him, but you will have magicians with some depth and integrity who would not reveal the secret. Not trying to do a rewrite, but in the interest of realism....


Re: interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

Postby Guest » October 23rd, 2003, 5:16 am

Thanks for your quick reply and advice. Some points of clarification-
The "team" of magicians is actually a pair-2 people.. They would "reveal" their tricks in the way Penn & Teller do (another "team")- something I have no problem with-you get a logical explaination of how the bit is done, but still wouldn't be able to try it at home, nor does it detract from your enjoyment of the show. Besides, something like holograms, the equipment involved, would be hard to hide from the media, the press, no?.Thanks again.

Bill Mullins
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Re: interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

Postby Bill Mullins » October 23rd, 2003, 9:22 am

As far as projectible interactive holograms goes, you might as well give the magicians real magical powers.

Holograms have been used as far back as Mission:Impossible to act as a deus ex machina, a magic wand that provides a "plausible" explanation for something that can't be done otherwise. The technology for holograms isn't advanced enough to permit moving holograms to interact real time with people, and won't be for some time. Computers, while making advances, are far from that, and optical display technology doesn't have the size, color palette, resolution, and other features needed to make a moving, real time, lifelike hologram.

Further, if you are looking at a hologram, what you are really looking at is a piece of optical material that is as big as a hologram that generally looks like a piece of optical material (exposed photographic film, for example). So, if you have a holographic person moving about on stage, then you have to have either a huge display/monitor or a projection screen that is as big as the person, and is big enough to be a backdrop for wherever that person is on stage, and it must account for the varying points of view of people on the left and right sides of the audience.

So it is highly unlikely that it will ever look like a person in that venue.

If you do use the idea, at least account for these issues. Otherwise, whatever suspension of disbelief you have built up will be totally lost for those of us (admittedly few) who have studied and worked with lasers/optics/holography.

Otherwise, good luck with the story.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: interactive holograms in magic? help with a short story

Postby Jonathan Townsend » October 23rd, 2003, 1:06 pm

Originally posted by wordwench:
...create their illusions by interacting with animated holograms they project on stage. ...
This goes back to "Pepper's Ghost" and the fun with half silvered mirrors from the start of last century... and before.

The holograms do update the technology a bit making the displayed images look better from a greater viewing angle.

I share the sentiment expressed about using non existant technology based upon undemonstrated principles as a plot point or almost literal deus-ex-machina where the needed elements are hoisted onstage by a crane or in this case 'hologram projector'. Did not make for an impressive cartoon episode of 'scooby doo' in 1969 and likely would fall flat today as well.

These days, the reader might expect one of the partners to be fictional ;) or even the narrator?

Spoiled by Borges and P. K. Dick - Jon
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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