{{Hologram}}s are cool, right? But they never seem to work right for whatever reason. Fizzing, popping, static, wobbly image....you'll be lucky if you get proper colour! Would have thought they'd check these things at the factory, wouldn't you? But no, it seems like every last one of them has some sort of glitch. It's a wonder people put up with the things.

Related to RuleOfPerception: A hologram has to look unreal, so the audience can see that it's a hologram; it's a visual equivalent of the RadioVoice. Also related to HolodeckMalfunction, and may suggest TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat if the protagonists are unaware they're talking to a hologram. Subtrope of ProjectedMan. However, it must be distinct enough that it's not simply mistaken for poorly implemented special effects. A poorly matched lighting or color for the surrounding environment on a ProjectedMan would not be inform the audience that he was a hologram, the assumption would be that it's an incompetent ChromaKey shot.

Many holograms falling under this trope are completely blue, perhaps a result of the famous ''ANewHope'' example below.

'''Note:''' To prevent us simply listing ''every'' hologram in fiction, be wary of adding too many examples of holograms that suffer minor blips during start-up or shut-down. Ensure that the example is intense enough to look like a real malfunction or interference of some kind.

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!!Aversions - Holograms that work perfectly:
One circumstance where this trope is commonly averted is when a ProjectedMan or other hologram is a regular fixture on the show, and for budgetary reasons it's easier to film them as actually physically present, with only very, very, occasional glitches on special occasions to remind viewers what they are.

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The holograms in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' are so realistic the animators sometimes forget they don't have a physical presence. This is because of the rare circumstance in that the audience is supposed to forget they are real—just like their fictional consumers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs2'' had the antagonist, Chester V, utilize his own holograms programmed to travel and run errands for him (as well as provide him company, facilitating his villainy). Unless touched, the holograms looked exactly like their maker. Chester actually uses it to overwhelm Flint by creating multiple holograms to tauntingly throw him off, until Flint uses one of his own inventions, "Party-In-a-Box" to create an explosion of paint and stickers that removes the holograms but completely stains the real Chester.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'', there are instances when what looks like in-person conversations really are comunications using holograms.
* Played with in ''Film/SupermanII'', in which Lex Luthor escapes prison by sticking a hologram of himself in his cell. The hologram itself is flawless, and the guard is tipped off only when [[spoiler:he steps in front of the projector]].
* ''Film/ManOfSteel'', on the other hand, Jor-El's hologram is indistinguishable from reality except when a physical object interferes with it. Apparently Kryptonian technology is capable of either that or pinart but nothing in between.
* ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'':
** When the commander of the Imperial Walkers talks to a hologram of Darth Vader, the hologram works fine.
** Likewise, when Darth Vader talks to the Emperor, the Emperor's hologram works O.K. (there's some minor flickering but it's not blatant).
* The holographic security recording in the prologue of ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' is flawless, except for a bit of odd lighting -- it only becomes clear that it's a hologram when the Operative walks through it. The Miranda Recording later in the film is also unusually luminescent but otherwise free of artifacts.
* ''Film/MissionImpossibleGhostProtocol'': Although not actually a hologram, the projection screen used in the Moscow Kremlin mission is sophisticated enough to create a false 3d image of the corridor in front of the real corridor of one of the guarded rooms--so good that it fools the guard patrolling the area despite Ethan and Benji being right behind the other side of the screen. The machine even had recognition sensors to track the movement of the person's eyes so that the illusion of the empty hallway could be maintained even while the guard was moving and watching the screen from different visual perspectives. The illusion only gets broken when more than one of the guards occupy the area, confusing the machine into projecting the image from multiple viewpoints back and forth.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Most of the time in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', except for a couple of occasions.
* Conspicuously averted in ''Literature/TheNakedSun''. Elijah was surprised to find out he was talking to a hologram because the Earth holograms did have HologramProjectionImperfection. (The planet he was on was still settled by humans; This wasn't an alien technology thing.)
* Holograms in ''Literature/DreamPark'' are so realistic that Gamers who allow themselves to step out-of-character still can't guess when real actors and animatronic models are switched out for holographic ones. The one time a holo's response is delayed by a couple of seconds, the Game Master chews out his technicians for the lapse.
* In contrast to Imperial holograms (see below), Tau holography in the Literature/CiaphasCain series is always portrayed as lifelike and in perfect focus at all times. This is, naturally, [[UncannyValley rather unsettling]] to anyone used to the fuzzier, more "analog" Imperial systems.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'': Al.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': Rimmer is one of the few fully-functional holograms in fiction, and even the TropeNamer for HardLight. Shame about the man himself!
** Ironically, an early idea was that he would be monochrome to make his status clearer, but it had to be shelved in favour of the metallic H on his forehead because real-world technology and/or a BBC science fiction serial's budget couldn't make him look that unconvincing.[[note]]The effect is surprisingly achievable with stage makeup, as an entry for one of ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s "Pictures You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped" series can attest, but the budget probably didn't stretch to that either.[[/note]] It was used in the early ''Red Dwarf Smegazine'' comic strips.
** The novel continuity actually kept the aversion and turned it into a plot point; apparently holograms are so perfect that it caused a bit of an UncannyValley effect. FantasticRacism ensued, played for BlackComedy when a much younger Rimmer accompanies his parents to throw rocks ''through'' holograms on a civil rights protest march.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': For a little while Starfleet experimented with holographic communicators, where it looked like the other character was actually in the same room with Sisko et al. (because the actors were). It was quietly dropped after a couple episodes. Note that it played the trope slightly straight; the person being projected would usually be oddly lit, to show they weren't really there.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': The holodeck. Even when it malfunctioned, as it so often did, it usually ''looked'' real, without scan lines or flickers. On those occasions when the holodeck did have visual artifacting, it was because the entire simulation matrix was breaking down (and badly needed a reset) or someone was meddling with the system without understanding what they were doing (but was trying to learn).
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': The Doctor almost always worked perfectly, even while using his mobile emitter. (Although the mobile emitter is much more advanced than the regular system, being from the future.)
* In ''Series/COntinuum'', the only malfunction of the holographic therapist is that he can walk through walls.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'', holograms are almost perfect when they're working properly, which becomes a plot point when [[spoiler:it turns out Eliza Cassan is a holographic projection made by an AI]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'', the War Games are officially holodeck simulations, and yet the graphics and the graphics are identical to the campaign and Spartan Ops.
** ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' introduced a Hologram armor ability, it sends a holographic copy of the player where you send it. There are no visual errors on the decoy unless it is shot or hit. If this ability is used properly, it can become quite annoying.
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[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Averted pretty hard in ''[[spoiler:VisualNovel/{{Ever17}}]]'' with the character [[spoiler:Sora]]. It's a point of pride for the company whose technology it is, as well as the character, who is extremely self-conscious about what few limitations it does have, in order to maintain the illusion of reality. It's also a major plot point and the subject of a [[TheReveal reveal]], despite the fact visitors are told about it up front.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong''. Similar to the tactic used by Lex Luther from the Superman sequel mentioned above, one of Jake's enemies, a dragon who once belonged to the Dragon Council but made a {{Face Heel Turn}} to aid the [[BigBad Dark Dragon]], used this as part of her powers common to all dragons by creating a magical doppleganger capable of fooling the guards while she escaped out of her prison cell, until the spell was broken by Jake's former new animal companion, [[ManiacMonkeys Bananas]] (who also joined and became Chang's new companion out of cowardice).
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In one episode of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', a hologram of Asuka appears out of her HumongousMecha, and it flickers when it [[ArmorPiercingSlap slaps]] Shinji, who [[CrowningMomentOfFunny evidently feels it]].
* ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'''s BeachEpisode has a room presented to most of the cast as the latest technology to have photoshoots in. While it works out in the beginning (Beach, Poolside, Pleasure Boat), the room suddenly turns on the cast as it cycles thru several undesirable scenes for [[FanService the swimsuit wearing characters]] (Snowy mountain, desert, boat in the middle of a storm, & the surface of the moon). Fortunately, the system is stopped at a scene (Campsite) that allows the girls to take a break without being uncomfortable.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In the ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' movie the brain holograms are monochromatic.
* In ''WesternAnimation/WallE'', the Earth is covered with holographic billboards which fizzle and static frequently. Justified, since they haven't been maintained for centuries.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* There's a hologram of Sinestro communicating in the ''Film/GreenLantern'' movie, which is in perfect color, but it has a couple of jumps, and breaks. The implication was, though, that because [[spoiler: Abin Sur's ship had been badly damaged, and the alien himself was badly wounded, the escape pod's functions were all working on getting him to safety and keeping him alive, so the hologram had limited transmit/receive power comparatively speaking]].
* In ''Film/IRobot'', the hologram is shown to be 2D, can only respond to a limited range of questions, and has some visual static.
** It is, however, meant to fool the audience at first, as it looks perfect until the camera moves to the side.
* ''Film/TheLastStarfighter''. During Zur's transmission into the Starfighter base, his holographic head glitches several times.
* ''Film/MinorityReport'' has a good example of not-great hologram tech, though it may be justified, being set TwentyMinutesInTheFuture instead of a far-future SpaceOpera.
* ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow''. As the protagonists are walking up to Dr Totenkopf's office a Tesla-type generator creates a HugeHolographicHead image of Totenkopf that explains his motives and warns them to get out or die. Both the image and voice are distorted when powering up, highlighting the more primitive 1930's {{zeerust}} technology of the film.
* Likewise in ''Film/TheWhispererInDarkness'' (2011), made in the {{retraux}} style of a 1930's Franchise/UniversalHorror film. Those in the [[BrainInAJar brain cylinders]] communicate with outsiders via a hologram which pops and fizzes excessively.
* ''Film/{{Screamers}}''. The protagonists have to report a cease fire proposed by the enemy forces. A pair of doors slide open and their superior walks through and starts talking to them -- all appears normal until he suddenly starts to fizz and sputter and the protagonists complain about the unreliability of holographic projection from Earth. [[spoiler:The scene hints at TheReveal that the ProjectedMan is actually dead.]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** ''Film/ANewHope''. Princess Leia's message to Obi-Wan Kenobi (stored in R2-D2) starts with a burst of static.
** ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''. When Luke's message to Jabba (stored in R2-D2) plays, it starts off with a burst of static and ends with one too.
** Possibly justified. Lucas, et al, decided that since the signal had been bouncing halfway across the galaxy it'd be unbelievable for it not to have picked up some interference along the way. Though that doesn't explain why the recordings R2 carried, made by people standing right in front of him, suffered the same problem.
** [[FridgeLogic A greater puzzle]], why does Artoo (an astromech droid, basically a self-mobile starship repairman and navigator) have a hologram projector, while Threepio (a protocol droid, and thus a professional translator and messenger) does not?
*** Perhaps he's supposed to be a rolling black box. Something goes wrong during a flight he can be ejected and picked up later to tell the story. In addition, being able to beam back images of damaged systems could help his overseers out. Still doesn't explain why he has a projector, but maybe it comes as some kind of package deal, the R2s are a kind of jack of all trades droid after all.
** Holograms in the prequel trilogy frequently cut out as well, even though it's supposed to be the [[CrystalSpiresAndTogas "more civilized age"]] of the galaxy.
** Most of the above are significantly blue-shifted, if not monochrome, and often have scan lines.
* ''Film/TheTimeMachine2002'' also has a justified example, because the AI in question has been sitting around for many years -- long enough that the heroes were lucky it played at all.
* ''Film/TotalRecall1990''.
** While Lori is practicing with a hologram designed to teach proper tennis serves, the hologram blurs a couple of times. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILqe_mmtBrE#t=1m38s here]].
*** It is a loop video of a person going through the motions, the blurs are when the image resets to the start of the loop.
** The wrist device that creates a hologram decoy of its wearer.
*** When Quaid tests it while on Earth his image breaks up into static.
*** When Quaid uses it on Mars to trick Cohaagen's troops, his image flickers after the trick is revealed.
*** Likewise, when Melina uses it her hologram breaks up when Cohaagen's troops fire into it. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipcHVIAa3dU#t=0m55s here]].
* In ''Film/EscapeFromLA'', the hologram of Snake appears flawless until after half an army tries to shoot the hell out of it. Then a guy walks forward and passes his hand through it, making it ripple.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Holos are ''always'' like this in Literature/CiaphasCain, requiring PercussiveMaintenance to work properly.
* In ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'': ''The Time Paradox'', Holly uses an old holographic communication device to talk to Julius. It works out to her advantage as it hides the fact that she's de-aged, [[spoiler: and her tears]]. Subverted in that the hologram shows all this accurately and Holly writes it all off as this trope, which Julius is willing to buy. (She also blames the old technology malfunctioning on it displaying her location, around the world from where she's supposed to be, "inaccurately".)
* The Chee holograms in ''Series/{{Animorphs}}'' are normally an aversion, but when the Yeerks screw with the ship that powers them, the holgrams begin to fizzle, fade and fail.
* The ''Literature/RedDwarf'' novels are typically as much of an aversion as the TV series in the aversion examples above. In ''Better Than Life'', however, Rimmer's hologrammatic image exhibited problems on one occasion. Severe time dilation caused by a black hole resulted in drastically different flows of time between where he was projected and where the computer that simulated him was located. As a result, he would flash, lose colour and even go two dimensional. The novel also mentioned in passing glitches that had happened in the past such as transparency, turning a shade of blue and even having his legs separating from his body and wandering aimlessly [[RuleOfFunny which completely violates the established principle on which he is projected]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Almost People". Though there is a lot of interference anyway (the hologram only really gets through because the plot wants it to).
* Used in an episode of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', then {{Lampshaded}}.
* The ''Series/LoisAndClark'' episode "Top Copy" used a hologram which somehow convinced people that Clark and Superman were side-by-side despite the fact that it was flickering. The glitches were Justified in that it was only built by a farmer's wife... but then that just [[VoodooShark raises other questions]].
* ''Series/TheMiddleman'' communicates with an alien representative via hologram in "The Clotharian Contamination Protocol," and the image is blue and staticky. What makes this more amusing is that at one point, when the alien representative quotes [[Film/DieHard a certain movie's catchphrase containing a swear word]], the CensorBox covering his mouth is also blue and staticky.
* In ''Series/StargateSG1'', Asgard holograms look incredibly realistic most of the time, but occasionally wobble or fritz just enough to let us know it's a hologram.
** It is, however, used once to "prove" that an Asgard shown by a CEO attempting to reveal the secret was a hologram. The reporter interviewing Sam tells her she doesn't believe it, as she has seen the alien with her own eyes. The alien is, in fact, a mindless clone (as opposed to the clones with minds that all the Asgard are).
* SELMA from ''Series/TimeTrax''; despite being a 22nd century, self aware, supercomputer her holographic "visual mode" suffered this trope. In one episode she managed to make herself appear perfectly for a brief time but implied it was too much of a strain on her power systems to maintain this for long.
** CINDI is a poor man's version of SELMA, and its projection is even worse.
* The hologram of Slartibartfast in the TV version of ''Series/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' is a fuzzy, white monochrome image.
* Plot point in the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "In the Pale Moonlight". A recording of a holographic meeting between the leadership of the dominion is identified as such (i.e. not being a recording of a real meeting) because of minor defects that are invisible to the eye. It is not elaborate what those defects were but one can assume that holographic animation even in the 24th century can't withstand a thorough investigation.
** This plot point is eventually turned around to the protagonist's advantage, after the shuttle Garak sabotaged exploded; but the recording was on a sturdy enough physical media, and was in a sturdy enough black box, that the Romulan investigators were able to recover it. Of course, they found the imperfections, the same as the Ambassador did - but they wrote them off as being adequately explained as damage from the shuttle explosion, and took the fake message as genuine.
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''. Used in the teaser of "Revulsion". An alien is shown removing the corpses of his dead crewmembers. Suddenly he starts to fitz, showing he's a hologram and setting the plot in motion, as he realises his program is breaking down and so makes the DistressCall that brings in Voyager.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Videogame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' mostly averts this trope as the holos look rather good. The audio, however, is a little tinny in the case of Dodanna and Vandar. Amusingly, if you turn down the graphics settings, the holograms will look physical.
** ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', not surprisingly, has a pretty similar high-quality hologram effect. There is an odd bit of SpecialEffectsFailure, though; rather than the holograms' "scan lines" lining up with the projector, it lines up with the player's screen, always exactly horizontal.
* In the ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series the Dr. Light holograms flicker and have a blue hue. Quite odd seeing as the hologram projector used in ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'''s final boss works perfectly, though it could be argued that age is a factor, since the ''X'' series is set a century after the ''Classic'' series.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' Dead Money add-on, the holograms scattered around the Sierra Madre are a uniform color, rather fuzzy and have prominent lines all over their figures. Oh yeah, and they shoot lasers. Granted this is two hundred year old equipment, though the Cloud was supposed to protect most of the Old World artefacts in the area. And lasers are cool. The fact that they can change colors suggests someone just wasn't willing to put in the work (humorously, ''Old World Blues'' has log entries which pretty much give this exact excuse; the designers were programmers, not artists).
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' also has an example with Vigil. The hologram doesn't even really show up you just get this weird jumble. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] since the VI in question has been sitting around for tens of thousands of years, you're lucky it was still functional to begin with [[spoiler:and in fact it shuts down soon after your group talks to it]]. Also, the game designers are trying to hide the Protheans' appearance and TheReveal in the second game that [[spoiler:the Collectors are modified Protheans]].
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the holograms of Shepard and The Illusive Man are wavery and have horizontal lines going through them like they are on a screen instead of a 3-D projection.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' has anyone Shepard talks to via the ''Normandy's'' holographic communications equipment appear blue. Anderson's in particular are also shot through with static, although that isn't surprising, seeing as he's transmitting from a planet embroiled in an alien invasion.
*** Both of these examples might be justified as a property of quantum entanglement comms rather than more typical systems; the QEC has a much tighter restriction on bandwidth, requiring the transmission be heavily compressed.
** The Decoy power in ''Mass Effect 3'' creates, as the name implies, a holographic duplicate of the user to act as a decoy and draw fire. It is distinguishable from the original, being slightly blurred and bluish in color, but it's not clear if this is what it really looks like, or an effect that the player's HUD adds in to make it stand out.
* In ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'', when a hologram appears, not only is the picture glitchy, but the first thing the hologram "says" is always "ffffffffffff... ffffffff..."
* VideoGame/DeusExInvisibleWar: Holograms are frequently imperfect, with horizontal strobing blue lines, higher end holograms are better quality.
** ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' can be mistaken for normal people, except at close range. Possibly as a side effect of the game having better graphics.
*** In-universe, this can probably be justified by the agencies from the first game trying to cut corners on budgets, especially when they've got much more important computer projects to spend money on.
* The holograms in ''VideoGame/EmperorBattleForDune'' have a distinctive fritzing effect where the red, blue and green channels of the hologram briefly fail to line up, just as happened with some earlier colour films and TV.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' has one in "Meet Binky", due to Arthur mistaking a CPU case for a trash can.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'': Vlad Masters has some AI programmed holograms of Maddie Fenton, all designed to be madly in love with him. But they display the usual translucency and dither problems of fictional holograms, as well as being a bit....temperamental.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'': They've done riffs on Franchise/StarWars, so those holograms are the trope played straight. But when JimmyNeutron shows up for the Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy is convinced the fairies are just really good holograms.
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'': [[TechnologyMarchesOn Although it is presumed that hologram movies in the year 3000 are suitably higher quality]], they started out rather like a silent film, with grainy, black and white video and no audio other than a soundtrack. For some reason they were also made on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laserdisc Laserdiscs.]]
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'': Lobo is given a hologram plate of Superman which works more or less perfectly until he crushes it. Later, he shows someone the taped-together plate, which now projects a fragmented image of Superman.
* Absolutely relentless in ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars,'' where every hologram communication is the same shade of blue, has the same scan lines, and the same static, even if it's just being sent across the street.
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