INSIDE DR. LASER’S HOLOGRAPHIC STUDIOS

At Holographic Studios in Manhattan, artist Jason Sapan—aka Dr. Laser—creates incredible, dimensional works of art. Correspondent Maddie Orton takes you inside for a look at the art and science behind Sapan’s holography.

Aired on January 15, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

> IT'S BEEN NAMED THE NUMBER ONE OBSCURE MUSEUM YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS.

MANHATTAN'S STUDIO IS THOUGHT TO BE THE OLDEST HOLOGRAM GALLERY AND REMAINS THE PIONEERING WORK FROM DR. LASER.

CHECK IT OUT.

IN A DARK BASEMENT LAB, DR.

LASER LIGHTS A CIGARETTE.

NOT TO SMOKE BUT TO BETTER SEE THE LAYSERS FROM WHICH HE GETS HIS NICKNAME AGAINST THE SMOKE.

OUTSIDE HOL GRAPHIC STUDIOS, MANHATTAN IS ABUZZ.

INSIDE, THE ENVIRONMENT IS QUIET AND STILL.

THAT'S HOW JASON, A.K.A. DR.

LASER, NEEDS TO IT WORK.

WE ARE CREATING THE ACTUAL HOLOGRAM.

THIS ROOM ENCASES OUR EQUIPMENT ON A FLOATING, REALLY MASSIVE BED.

WHAT WE'RE PHOTOGRAPHING IS QUITE SMALL.

JUST LIKE ANYTHING, IF YOU WERE TO MOVE IT IN ANNER APPRECIABLE AMOUNT, IT WOULD MUDDY THEM AND YOU WOULDN'T GET A GOOD EXPOSURE.

SO IT IS LITERALLY FLOATING FROM ISOLATED SOURCES IN THE CITIES LIKE SUBWAYS AND TRUCKS.

THE ACTUAL EXPOSURE TIME TO CREATE A HOSPITAL GRAPHIC IMAGE IS A MATTER OF SECONDS.

BUT HE SAID SETTING UP THE SHOT AND TROUBLE-SHOOT HUG TO ACHIEVE THE EFFECT HE'S GOING FOR COULD TAKE HOURS.

, DAYS AND WEEKS.

THIS IS LIKE THOMAS EDISON'S LAB IN THE 1800s.

WE PUT THINGS TOGETHER, YOU KNOW, DUCT TIAPE AND HOT GLUE.

WE FIGURE OUT NOT THE FANCY WAY TO DO IT BUT WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING HERE.

WHAT INTRINSICALLY NEEDS TO BE DONE.

HE GREW UP AROUND LASERS AND HOL GRAPHY.

HIS FATHER WORKED AS AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER AND HE HAD A LAYSER IN HIS HOME.

HE STARTED WORKING HOLOGRAMS AT AGE 17 DEMONSTRATING ARE IN AN EXHIBIT.

HE FOUND ART FORM MIND-BOGGLING.

IT IS LIKE A LITTLE WORLD, A UNIVERSE WITHIN HERE.

YOU'RE NOT LOOKING AT THINGS JUST ON THEIR SURFACE.

YOU LOOK AROUND SOMETHING AND IT IS INTRIGUING.

YOU REALIZE THERE'S MORE.

THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE TRULY DIMENSIONAL.

UNLIKE 3D.

ANY SEAT IN THE THEATER WILL SEE THE EXACT SAME 3D.

YOU CAN'T MOVE AROUND IT.

WHEREAS IN A HOLOGRAM, YOU CAN LOOK AROUND SOMETHING.

WHAT WE'RE RECORDING ARE WITH HOLOGRAPHY IS A SHAPE.

A HOLOGRAM IS A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SHAPE THAT LIGHT TAKES WHEN IT BOUNCES OFF A SURFACE.

IMAGINE THAT THE HOLOGRAM IS JUST AN IMPRESSION.

WE'RE FILLING THAT IMPRESSION UP NOT WITH HOT METAL, NOT WITH RESIN, NOT WITH PLASTER OF PARIS, BUT WITH WHITE.

WE'RE USING A MOLD OF LIGHT AND FILLING WITH IT LIGHT.

HE'S CREATED HOLOGRAMS IN THIS BUILDING FOR FOUR DECADES.

IT'S BEEN IMPORTANT FOR HIM TO CARRY THE TORCH EVEN AS OTHER STUDIOS FADED AWAY.

HE SAID NOW PEOPLE ARE ENTHUSIASTIC TO VISIT.

OH, HOLOGRAMS.

I LOVE HOLOGRAMS.

THE PEOPLE WHO COME VISIT, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

WHICH BELIEVE ME, YOU HAD TO ENDPUR FOR A LONG TIME TO NOW, PEOPLE ARE SAYING, WOW, IT'S SO COOL THAT YOU DO THIS.

AND SOME OF HIS FANS ARE PRETTY BIG NAMES.

HE'S CREATED PORTRAITS FOR THE LIKES OF MAYOR KOCH, ISAAC ASIMOV, AND ANDY WARHOL.

GOING UP AND VISITING HIM IN HIS STUDIO, THE FACTORY.

YOU GO INTO HIS OFFICE AND THERE IT IS.

YOUR PIECE OF WORK SITTING ON HIS WALL SIGNED.

AND YOU GO, OH, MY GOD.

MAYBE THE PUBLIC HAS NO IDEA WHO I AM BUT WARHOL THINKS MY STUFF IS COOL.

GO THAT'S NOT TOO BAD.

WHEN HE'S CREATING PORTRAITS, HE SAID HE'S WORKED THAT EVERY FIELD IMAGINABLE.

WE'VE WORKED IN HE HAVE FIELD.

COMIC BOOK COVERS, TECHNOLOGY, WE'VE WORKED WITH DOING THE FLORK CITY BALLET.

I'VE WORKED IN SO MANY AREAS FROM ARCHITECTURE TO SCIENCE.

I KILL ON JEOPARDY.

ONE AREA HE HAS NOT WORKED IN, THE INCREASING DOCTOR HOLO CONCERT.

I'M OFTEN CONFRONTED WITH WHAT IS CALLED A HOLOGRAM BUT NOT A HOLOGRAM.

PEOPLE HAVE USURPED THE WORD AND IT STARTED WITH NOT QUITE A DECADE AGO.

AND PEOPLE STARTED DOING WHAT IS KNOWN AS PEPPER'S GHOST.

IF YOU'RE DRIVING IN AN AUTOMOBILE, THE WINDSHIELD WILL REFLECT SOMETHING OFF A DASHBOARD.

LET'S SAY IF YOU HAD WHITE GLOVES AND YOU LEFT THEM ON THE DASHBOARD AND YOU SEE THEM FLOATING OVER THE HOOD OF THE CAR.

THAT'S PEPPER'S GHOST.

YOU'RE SEEING THE CHARACTER WHO MOST OFTEN NOWADAYS IS SOMEBODY DECEASED DOING A PERFORMANCE.

THE FUNNY THINGS WHEN PEOPLE ARE DISHONEST AND USE THE WORD, I BELIEVE THE ADVERTISING ARE GENRE REFERS TO THE FACT THAT THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY.

HE STILL SEES OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH WITH REAL HOLOGRAMS, TOO.

PARTICULARLY IN THE AREA OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE.

THINK OF TISSUE SAMPLES, THAT A HOLOGRAM AFFORDS THAT OTHER TECHNOLOGIES DON'T.

NOT ONLY CAN YOU LOOK AT THE STRUCTURE LIKE WOULD YOU WITH ANY MICRO SCOPE SLIDE BUT YOU CAN CHANGE IT.

IT IS A HARDLY TAPPED MEDIUM.

FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO LEARN MORE, HE OFFERS TOURS, CLASSES AND CREATIONS AT HIS MANHATTAN STUDIOS.

'METROFOCUS.'

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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