Wednesday, March 14, 2007

1. How it Started

3 months before, I had been running a small holography gallery in Eindhoven following a very successful exhibition I had helped organise in the town. When the exhibition closed, the owners of the local shopping mall had offered us a site where we could continue to present our holograms on a semi-permanent basis. The shop space they had provided allowed us to make both a gallery and a commercial outlet.
Then, one day, Leopold, the sponsor of the then-departed exhibition called to tell me that the request he had made to some government department to make a royal holographic portrait had been accepted. However, the portrait would not be of the then Queen Juliana but her daughter – Princess Beatrix. We were told to assemble at the Dutch Houses of Parliament 3 weeks hence where a location had been reserved for the event.

At that moment in time, I was the only person in the Netherlands that had had any experience making these sorts of holograms and I was, therefore, not unnaturally, asked to organize the project.

These holograms were made in a 2-stage process.
The first part consisted of shooting a small movie using 35mm high resolution black and white film. The subject was placed on a turntable which rotated approximately 120 degrees in the space of 15 seconds.
The second part transferred the individual frames from that film through a lens system and re-exposed them with a laser as a series of thin lines onto a large sheet of holographic film.
The finished result would be a transparent plastic sheet of film about 45 cms wide by 25 cms high which, when a point source of light was placed behind it, would cause a fully three dimensional moving image to appear floating in space.

So I began to organize the people I needed, the guys to make the turntable, the film crew to shoot the film etc. Royal protocol, on the other hand, had other ideas. It seems that bureaucrats around the Royal Family always used one particular film company – Polygoon Journal – and, therefore, insisted that I use them instead of my team. I acceded to their demand, somewhat relieved they had not insisted on bringing in their own film director, a job I was uniquely qualified to do.

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