I promise not to make the obvious Obi-Wan joke when writing about CNN’s use of holograms to provide election updates last night. Yes, it did look like Star Wars (with a touch of Star Trek beaming in there). Yes, it was kinda silly. But dang — that was pretty cool. And CNN will get even more mileage out of it as a clip of the holographic action hit the Viral Video Chart, generating more than 140,000 plays so far.
Two other big winners last night? The companies that made it happen: Vizrt is a Norwegian software company that creates video production technology, and Sportvu, an Israel-based company that has a peripheral tracking system for live events.
In the clip embedded here, Jessica Yellin talks about little bit about how the technology works. There are 35 HD cameras that encircle her and capture a full body image that is beamed back to CNN HQ. The cameras on Yellin are synched up with cameras at CNN to coordinate different shots, and a whole bunch of computers put everything together. Gizmodo has a more complete breakdown.
But like so many things on TV, CNN couldn’t just leave well enough alone. They had to dip back into the holographic well to talk with will.i.am. Did the technology jump the shark at that point? Or did CNN?