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TheCreative's avatar

Why do displays/holograms always appear glitchy in futuristic or science fiction movies?

Asked by TheCreative (1208 points ) August 27th, 2009

If their technology is so much more advanced why is it always glitchy and flickering? It’s kind of difficult to explain but I hope you understand what I mean.

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20 Answers

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

lol they always seem to be malfunctioning or blipping in and out… damn you R2

windex's avatar

Good question, I think they want to make it seem more “realistic”?

Like not having a perfectly rendered CG model/scene.

maybe they’re afraid it’ll look fake?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

To get the point across that it’s a hologram, not a person really standing there.

drdoombot's avatar

It’s a creative device of whoever is making the movie. In some cases, it adds a sense or realism, I suppose. Like when Princess Leia hologram is flickering in A New Hope, it just makes R2D2 and the world of Tattooine seem more used and lived in.

I’m sure you can find plenty of examples of perfect holograms. Off the top of my head, Minority Report, A. I., the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation and many others.

rawrgrr's avatar

Because they use Windows in the future :p

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s because there’s no pinnacle to technology. It will always have flaws.

YARNLADY's avatar

Well, not always – example: Total Recall

AstroChuck's avatar

I seem to remember the doctor from Voyager looking pretty solid.

derekpaperscissors's avatar

because it takes so much power just to block the amount of network spam in the future.

BhacSsylan's avatar

It’s a misture between Windex and DrDommBot’s answer. In many cases, such as in Star Trek: Voyager, the flicker is mostly the remind the audience that the person is simply a hologram. There’s a decent number of examples of this, i’m sure, though only that one is coming to mind now.

On the other hand, though, the director can use it to change the feel of the technology. Star Wars was an excellent example. R2D2 is all sandy and rusted and plain old by then, his displays are not that great. In minority report, the holograms are flawless, to underline the ‘flawlessness’ of the whole society at that point. Another example I can think of is the hologram in ‘The Time Machine’ (horrible movie, btw). He’s very old, and the museum he ‘runs’ is falling apart and succumbing to the jungle. As such, he’s very jumpy, flickers a lot, and there are many places where he just doesn’t show, or only part of a display will show. Bad movie, but it did have some great points. :-p

Bugabear's avatar

I’m thinking because theres dirt and other airborne particles getting on the very clean emitters. Also its probably takes a lot of computing power to make a 3D hologram so if someone is doing something else like hacking into a computer then theres probably a little glitching going on.

Gundark's avatar

I always assumed it was because of interference over the vast distances the the holograms are being transmitted. Subspace disturbances, solar radiation, nebula dust—hundreds of light years of that kind of stuff must affect transmission quality a little.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Gundark- If something is sent digitally none of those things would affect the signal that way. Unlike an analog signal you would either get it or you wouldn’t.

Gundark's avatar

Perhaps more advanced technological cultures have found it more convenient to transmit in analog form. There’s actually an advantage, and you’ve just stated it. With digital, you either get it or you don’t. With analog, you get something, however garbled, and you have a chance to get something, even if part of the signal doesn’t make it through.

whitenoise's avatar

With digital, parts of the stream may get lost still. That may lead to blocky, distorted pictures. Anybody ever had a mini-DV cam with dirty tape heads. The signal will show all kinds of blocks popping up.

filmfann's avatar

There are several common ways filmmakers remind you that the movie takes place in the future:
1) Flying Cars
2) glitchy moving holograms
3) black presidents
4) the destruction of New York City.

Hmmm… maybe they need to get some new ones.

Christian95's avatar

May by they’re glitchy because the hologram is produced in one point and it’s spreading in space and this might make high resolution difficult to obtain.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

Actually it’s because those types of holograms didn’t really exist, or still don’t and in order to give it believability it had to appear flawed. Unlike the hologram in the new G.I. Joe Movie, where it is almost totally clear, may even be Dennis Quaid for a scene.

Samurai's avatar

Maybe its to have more of a scifi look rather then a crisp new age technology feel.

SABOTEUR's avatar

It’s most likely an effect used to make it apparent to the viewer that they’re watching a hologram. A shortcut, so to speak, to remove the necessity of verbally emphasizing what’s on screen.

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