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How to make a Hologram

Produced in 1993 this, now classic, video offers a clear explanation about how to make holograms.

As part of the site archive the original text, which accompanied this video (originally avaliable for sale as a VHS video), is published here. 



Holography is a medium with many existing applications and an even greater potential for development. It is something that intrigues and appeals to curious-minded people of all ages.

We encounter holograms every day on credit cards, cereal boxes, videotapes and computer software in the form of security foils and promotional stickers. Holograms are available as jewellery and on T-shirts and can be seen in museums and art galleries.

People working with holography know that the first question everyone asks is "How are they made?", and we know what a difficult job it can be to give a simple, easily understood answer. What people need is to see it done, then understanding swiftly follows.

This is something that Royal College of Art graduate Matthew Andrews realised when he was planning his exhibition and lecture tour Understanding Holograms, and in order to accomplish the task in a variety of temporary venues over the period of a couple of months he decided that the best solution would be to make a video.

How To Make A Hologram is the result - a 7-minute tape which succeeds in introducing a complicated subject in an uncomplicated way. It doesn't tell you everything about holography (in seven minutes what do you expect?) and it will probably provoke a lot of questions for you to answer, but at least those questions will be more informed and more relevant, enabling a better and more productive discussion.



How many times in your career have you tried to explain how are holograms are made, and how many times have you waffled on about Reference beams, Object beams and Interference Patterns, waving your arms in the air before an uncomprehending audience?

How many paper napkins and backs of envelopes have been devoured in the pursuit of an explanation of wave fronts, beam paths, reference angles and so on?

Aren't you getting fed up with it?

Now, thanks to this video your life could be free of such complications. Just sit your curious friend in front of the television, put on the How To Make A Hologram video and go and make a cup of tea.

If you want to introduce your students to holography, this video will serve as a useful starting point; if you run a gallery which exhibits holography, the video will save your mind, body and voice from hours of repeating the same explanation over and over again; if you deal in commercial holography it might keep your clients occupied for a moment while you step outside to discuss prices with your partner.

I am sure you will find that this video acts as an excellent source of reference material and as an essential primer on the subject.


TEACHERS: Have you ever tried to explain to your students about HOLOGRAPHY and HOLOGRAMS? How much do you know about them yourself?

"...(Holography) is an ideal vehicle for multi-disciplinary project work since it embodies a wide spread of fields such as chemistry, optics, physiology, engineering, design and art. Holography has proved to be one of the strongest motivating influences in the school...."

Mike Anderson, University of Westminster
RPS Holography Newsletter

'How to Make a Hologram' explains the nature of Holography in a clear and simple way. It also relates to the core of many subjects that are required topics of the National Curricula of Science, Art and Technology.

'How to Make a Hologram' explains what a hologram is, how to go about making one, how three dimensions are captured, how stereo vision works and how that is different from the three dimensions recorded in a hologram.


The National Curriculum of Science requires as early as levels 2 and 3 that...

"Pupils should explore the nature of vision, leading to an appreciation that vision occurs because light enters the eye and signals are interpreted by the brain. They should learn about the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum, other main types of electromagnetic radiation, and their uses. Pupils should study the behaviour of light, particularly its transmission, absorption, reflection, refraction and dispersion. They should learn how light is controlled and used. They should study the function of the eye...."

From NAT SCI CURRICULUM, Key Stage 3. AT4 Programme of Study


And at level 4 that....

"Pupils should investigate the fundamental characteristics of light, such as reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference and polarisation.... They should study the process of transmission of waves through different media, including the relationship between speed, frequency and wavelength. They should understand the working of a range of optical devices."

From NAT SCI CURRICULUM, Key Stage 4, AT4 Programme of Study.

If holography forms part of your curriculum or if you are looking for something new with which to stimulate your pupils' interest, watching this video could be seven minutes well spent.

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