Circus Roncalli, a longstanding German circus known for its animal exhibitions and acrobatics, has decided to replace its live animals with holograms in an effort to promote animal welfare. This decision was made two years ago and was first reported by German publication RP Online. The shift was implemented a year later and recently caught the attention of Reddit users.
The circus continues to offer a traditional circus experience, with the ringmaster situated in the center of the ring and an audience surrounding him on all sides. The holographic animals are projected to appear as if they are stampeding in circles, balancing on two front legs, or suspended in mid-air, just like their live counterparts.
The dream was made possible by a crew of 15 3D designers and software engineers, along with eleven laser beams and more than 3,000 processes. “We did pioneer work. We made the holographic round because in [the] circus, the stage is round,” said Roncalli Founder and Director Bernhard Paul.
The 360° 3D holographic images fill the arena, measuring 32 meters (105 feet) wide and 5 meters (16 feet) deep, as the crowd awes and applauds just as they might at an old-fashioned circus. The holograms are created using laser beams because their lights are the same size, vibrate simultaneously, and bend in the same way, according to the University of Illinois Department of Physics. The beam is split into two, with one diversion shining on an object and the other bouncing off a mirror onto a special film that is also in the field of view of the object being projected. As the light bounces off the object, it interferes with the light from the mirror. When it hits the film, it records the interference pattern between the two beams of light, creating the hologram.
Circus Roncalli’s decision to use holographic animals comes as a number of countries, including Ireland, Italy, and India, have banned the use of circus animals. This year, Roncalli was also able to incorporate a real robot as an acrobatic partner for a human being, highlighting the circus’s embrace of technological advancements.
The holograms are demonstrated in the video below.