INSIDE DR. LASER’S HOLOGRAPHIC STUDIOS

January 16, 2020 at 5:00 am

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. 

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>>> 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.

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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