CNN's holograms

I just wanted to start a discussion on the amazing holograms that were used by CNN. How were they done? How much do they cost? How will they be used in the future?

This is quite a skeptical [article](http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10082802-76.html)about the whole thing. While the points raised are valid to some extent I think it's a very exciting technology with all sorts of potential. I expect it will be deployed on the high end speech/lecture circuit soon. It could be used to create some really innovative museum exhibits. I wonder if the Obama campaign will figure a way to make use of it in 2012.

WAG: It’s not a real hologram, just a video effect. I.e. Wolf can’t actually see Jessica in front of him; it just looks that way to the TV audience. The motion of the studio cameras is tracked by computers to keep Jessica in the same spot/orientation, much like the virtual 1st down line on a football field.

I think that would make it much less useful for lectures and museum exhibits.

I have to agree with many of the comments on that site. Unless I’m missing something, this isn’t a “Hologram” by the definitions of that word, and i strongly suspect that Wolf wasn’t looking at a life-sized 3D image of Yallin during this performance.

Looks like TV effects and glitz dressed up with an inappropriately applied label and sold off as a piece of “gee whiz” tech that it’s trying to emulate.

But I could be wrong, although I wouldn’t bet on it.

Last night, Anderson Cooper looked like he had to stop himself from laughing out loud when he used the word holgram before his intervirew with Will I. Am. I immediatly looked at my wife and said, “WTF is that? That’s not a hologram.”

From the article I linked:

"Yellin, who claimed she was the first person to be beamed in a hologram on live TV, explained for the audience how this was done. (See video below.) She said she was standing in a tent outside of the Obama headquarters in Chicago where the CNN crew had set up 35 high-definition cameras in a ring. She stood in the center of this ring and the cameras picked up her every movement and transmitted the image in 3D to the studio in New York. "

This doesn’t sound like a special effect just for TV viewers.

Sure it does. It’s one thing to capture and transmit a 3D image, but inserting it into video is a lot more feasible than projecting a 3D image into thin air.

When I have more time I’ll get to the bottom of this, if nobody else does.

Here’s some more information:

Since the computers put the images together and project them, maybe they should take it to the next step and have Mac-formatted blank robots to have the subject’s images downloaded onto them, Futurama-style.

I agree with the linked writers criticism that doing such an effect (whether it’s a “real hologram” or not) is pointless in an on-the-spot reporter unless you include some of the spot in the shot. Why did we need one more chick in a suit “in CNN headquarters” talking about what was going on in Chicago? She was in Chicago, so show us Chicago! Might as well telephone her thoughts to CNN and have someone else read them on air.

Maybe after a future upgrade they can have Blitzer talking to Br’er Rabbit.

If it isn’t really a hologram I have to say that Blitzer’s comments:e.g. “it looks like you are right here” are highly misleading. I take it that the innovation here is to be able to produce this special effect in real time. Which is nice I suppose but hardly that exciting.

Well, there is a BIT of cool technical wizardry going on. The subject is shot using multiple video cameras and then those different views are interpolated to produce a moving image that matches the viewpoint of the camera in the CNN studios.

It’s not a hologram (it’s actually closer to augmented reality) but it’s not trivial either.

In the bar where I was watching the results, when Anderson “the grey fox” Cooper said “we now go live by hologram to will-i-am”, the entire place erupted in laughter.

It looked like a poor man’s sci-fi to me. And, I really want a t-shirt that says “we now go live by hologram”. That’s officially the funniest statement of the night. I’m still laughing about it.

They may not have been actual “holograms”, but they were pretty impressive.

And in a samll note of local pride, the system was developed and operated by an Israeli start-up company from Kfar-Saba, north of Tel Aviv. Here’stheir website.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I’m generally a science enthusiast and so I enjoy pondering the technology and stuff, but really, this was one of the stupidest techno-gimmicky things I’ve ever seen on CNN, and that’s saying a lot. I was actually literally ROTF when, after Wolf’s big characteristic build-up (“you’ve never seen anything like this on television…”), Jessica Yellin’s image appeared Princess Leia style. It served absolutely no purpose in illuminating the election and just seemed silly.

I couldn’t help but imagine what Jon Stewart would (and hopefully will) do with it.

When he said “it looks like you are right here” I think he was referring to what he saw in the monitors, not what was physically in front of him.
Like a weather man working in front of a green screen looking at the monitors and commenting “It looks like there is a giant video map behind me right here”.

If this were an actual 3-D projection, its invention would’ve been front-page news and revolutionized electronic media.

It wasn’t, and it didn’t, so it isn’t. The news correspondents calling it a “hologram” are just stupid and are using the term for typical newsmedia hype, relying on the similar ignorance of most of their audience. The coolness of the effect is canceled by the hype.

People actually thought the “hologram” was projected into space in the CNN studio? :dubious:

I didn’t even occur to me to think of it as anything other than a video effect. It’s not really any different than the “3-D” Senate building graphic that they “projected” onto whats-her-name’s desk. It’s not really on her desk, that much is obvious. It’s SFX and green screen trickery. Very Hollywood, but not particularly innovative or anything.

Not only was that not a hologram, it was also completly lame. I turned the channel when they went to that.

Apparently I missed the “hologram”. I thought this was going to be about the ridiculous “virtual Capitol” that popped up. Honestly, all this high-tech gadgetry is just silly. It’s just there to help the anchors fill up the dead time.