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CNN Hologram: A New Kind of NewTeeVee

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 Did the technology jump the shark at that point? Or did CNN?

13 Responses to “CNN Hologram: A New Kind of NewTeeVee”

  1. Robin,

    A news organization, especially one reputable like CNN, should make it’s information clear and available to most of it’s audience. But, it also has a responsibility to be accurate and informative. Journalists work with words to make them accurate, intelligent and understandable to viewers. Rather than go for hyperbolic language. It’s the responsibility of a news organization to find accurate words.

  2. I hear alot of people complaining about CNN calling it a hologram when it is technically not a hologram but I have a question for these people- what do you expect them to call it? It’s technically not a green screen either! The network is in a position where they have to convey information in a way that the majority of people will understand. Fact is, most people could care less if it’s a ‘true’ hologram or not! Only the geeks will get their pullups in a bunch over this! How many times have you geeks (and yes, only geeks are bothered by this) had to dumb down the explanation of something very technical almost to the point of it being totally inaccurate to get some lay person to understand even vaugely what you were talking about? Same thing here! Most people appreciate a cool special effect but you’ll start losing those same people when you start throwing technobabble out at them. As a news provider you don’t want to start losing your viewers by talking over their heads. Sure Wolf Blitzer could say: Well lets bring Jessica Yellin in via realtime 3d compositing by HD camera array system or whatever the technology is actually called, or they can simply say ‘hologram’ and move on to the story they are trying to cover. Oh and I’ll let you in on a secret: That “magic wall” that CNN has? It’s not really magic! OH THE HORRORS! THE LIES!

  3. Liz,

    There used to be a Hologram gallery on Haight Street in San Francisco before the park. I would stop there in the late 80’s and early 90’s looking in the dark at hologram plates lighted. A floating images above the lighted plates would change perspective as you moved around them. But you could easily see through the image, there was limited perspective range and it was nowhere close to the Star Wars hologram chess game.

    Wikipedia has an article on Holograms: . There’s probably other sources that are worth looking into.


  4. From what I’ve heard, this was actually just bluescreening using a bunch of different cameras, which puts it, to my way of thinking, slightly above the nightly weather in terms of interest and newsworthiness.

    Now, had it been an ACTUAL hologram, THAT would’ve been cool.

  5. 35 cameras? sorry, thats just dumb. it would have been easier (and WAY better looking) to just have multiple pairs of cameras synced up with motion control.

    why have 35 cameras at one location when all you really need is one for each camera that is operating in the live environment?