How I geeked out our 2 year anniversary with my very own Hologram 👻

The Big Bang Theory S06E05 — The Holographic Excitation

Backstory

On September 2016, my then-fiancé-today-wife Elia and myself were supposed to celebrate our 2 year anniversary together. Unfortunately, due to my relatively new role at the digital innovation labs of Tim Hortons & Burger King (RBI Digital), I had prior commitments and a planned business trip to Manhattan right on the date of our anniversary.

What

After some googling around, a brainstorming session with myself and bumping into a bunch of very cool YouTube videos, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

The plan

  1. Creating a “Holographic” pyramid. This pyramid, which is actually assembled from 4 trapezoids, could be used with a specially prepared video to create a hologram-styled visual effect within the pyramid from the reflected video on its sides.
  2. The video. Understand how to technically shoot and prepare the video in the correct format so the effect is as impressive as possible.
  3. Delivery method. How does my very-non-technological fiancé is going to actually play this hologram? What would be the easiest way let her play and experience it?

The Pyramid

This was really the trickiest part of all. I was sure this is going to be relatively easy and straightforward, and from watching some videos online, it was obvious to me my first strategy would be to use old CD cases and cut them with a utility knife to get the correct trapezoid-shaped sides and then glue them together.

One side of the trapezoid that I printed in “real size” on a big piece of paper so I have a reference
Cutting out the sides from clear laminate and gluing them together

The Video

I have some intermediate video editing experience and knew that I basically had to film myself over a green screen so I can key out the background and create a “floating head” kind of hologram.

Sample holographic video from “Hologram Project by Kiste” on YouTube
Capturing some video on my improvised blue-screen :)
Keyed out “transparent” video

Delivery

As I rhetorically asked earlier — how do you get a non-technical person to play a hologram video on their device?

The mount with the pyramid attached to it, with an exact slot fitting Elia’s iPad mini
iPad app on our anniversary and on any other day.

The end

Right before I flew out to Manhattan, I gave Elia the “mount” as a gift and told her I made a special iPad app for our anniversary that’s on her device, and that she would know exactly what to do when the day comes.

🤓 Hologram-Shai 😇

iOS Tech Lead @ Gett 🚕 RxSwift & RxSwiftCommunity core contributor. International speaker and worldwide hackathon winner. Fiddling with tech for a living. 🤓