High-speed in-line holography is used to visualize the trajectories of glass fibers being drawn out in a turbulent flame. To improve the signal-to-noise ratio, the images are not observed by a conventional reconstruction setup, but the holographic plate is placed directly on the input plane of a wavelet-transform optical system. This processing system is based on a VanderLugt correlator with inclusion of an electrically addressed spatial light modulator. The shape of the matched filters is deduced by successive rotation and dilatation operations of wavelet functions in the Fourier domain. We estimate the three-dimensional location of a fiber element and its orientation by searching for the daughter wavelet that yields the maximum intensity on the output plane of the correlator, which also contains the reconstructed image. The results are compared with those obtained by conventional optical reconstruction. The signal-to-noise ratios of the images observed on the output plane are improved. Moreover, it is shown that the axis coordinate accuracy is improved to Delta z = +/-50 mu m, instead of +/-0.5 mm for holographic reconstruction. (C) 1999 Optical Society of America.