Michael Frank Deering: VR: HoloFlicks


The concept of HoloFlicks was to allow both live and computer generated films to be viewed in a headtracked stereo environment. This was done by instead of recording individual frames as individual 2D pixels, have them recorded as geometry compressed 3D micro-polygons. In this way the final binding of the viewing matrix for the rendering could be put off until end-viewer viewing time.


An initial version of HoloFlicks was implemented, and four different HoloFlicks “shorts” were produced:

  • Horrible Tree: a RenderMan displacement shader generated sequence.
  • Monster Crash: a RenderMan displacement shader generated sequence.
  • Clay Face Animation: a clay animation live “stop motion” sequence. (Artist: Hallie McConlogue.)
  • Scientific Visualization: an animation of a physics particle force and collision simulation.

The system playback ran on Elite3D augmented with stereo headtracking glasses. HoloFlicks were shown in public several times, usually using the HoloTable display.

One of the problems with HoloFlicks were that they looked too real – people thought that they were watching video tape, because they had never seen such high quality images rendered in real-time before. On the other hand, the lack of fast full screen anti-aliasing on Elite3D took some quality away. If hardware geometry decompression hadn’t been removed from the XVR-1000 and XVR-4000, considerably more complex HoloFlicks would have been built.


There never were any formal papers published on HoloFlicks, but this short paper gives a fairly good overview.

Michael F. Deering Deering, “HoloFlicks”, unpublished, 1999.

pdf (98 KB)

There are also some notes on HoloFlicks in the course notes of my second Geometry Compression course:

Michael F. Deering, ACM SIGGRAPH 1999 Course notes on Compressed Geometry:

pdf (1 MB)


I have a fairly good video tape of HoloFlicks in action; eventually I’ll get it digitized and available on this page.