How to create a virtual holographic smartphone display in DaVinci Resolve
When you’re making your sci-fi short film, have you ever just wished you had a phone with a holographic display? Something that would let you expand the desktop outside of just the device in your hand, letting you see more information all at once?
Well, in this video, Jamie Fenn shows us how we can create exactly this type of effect using DaVinci Resolve – and he manages to do it in only 11 minutes. It’s not difficult to do, and while you may not need this exact effect, Jamie shows off a lot of the different features of Fusion and explains how they work so that you can incorporate those elements into your own content.
This video was created because a bunch of people asked Jamie how he did the watch hologram thing in a recent transition tutorial. The general process for the smartphone hologram is essentially the same and it isn’t that much different to how you might do it in something like After Effects. Sure, the specific buttons you click and effects you use might be different, but the general principle is pretty universal.
Essentially all you need to do is motion track the face of the device you want to centre the hologram around using the planar tracker. Then just add the elements around the track in screen mode so that you can still see through them a bit. Jamie offers up a few more tips to help really sell the effect with motion blur and light rays to blend it into the scene a little better, but that’s basically it.
It’s a pretty simple and straightforward technique, but if you’re not used to how Fusion’s node system works, it’s can be difficult to figure out on your own. But knowing how this technique works opens up all kinds of possibilities for other ways you can use the planar tracker. Perhaps to add signs to buildings as your camera moves around them. Or maybe to cover up a poster on a wall that you don’t want to show in your final film.
At this point, it’s not much of a secret that I’ve switched to DaVinci Resolve for most of my own editing needs. I haven’t even loaded Premiere Pro in at least a month now. I still have a lot of catching up to do, though, before it can replace After Effects, too. Channels like Jamie’s (and Alex’s) have been a big help in getting there.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.