A new fringe compensation method for holographic interferometry is presented. Virtual displacement fields are used to compensate the displacement of the investigated object. The virtual displacement fields are built from phase-shifted reconstructions of the recorded interferogram. The sensitivity of the measurement can be changed after the recording of the interferogram. The fringe density at highly deformed points of the object can be decreased; the defect detection can be simplified. © 2000 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.