CNN hologram confuses non-geeks, still neat

CNN debuted their in-studio ‘hologram’ last night! It ‘beams in’ like Trek, but the overall effect is Star Wars – Anderson Cooper was not the only news person I saw confused on that front last night. Still, technology! Whoo!

10 Replies to “CNN hologram confuses non-geeks, still neat”

  1. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be actual hologram technology (and I was all excited). From what I’ve been able to learn, it’s simply an optical effect added to the video signal — in other words, there’s nothing actually in the studio with Anderson Cooper. But you’d never know it from the way CNN was pumping it up last night.

  2. Amazing that, on their very first try, they achieve higher resolution (but lower framerate) than most SW holograms. :)

    I mean, sure, the HoloNet ones are understandable, but for sublight communications the technology seems to have stagnated.

  3. I like the way Anderson Cooper stared at the camera in that one shot as if to say “this is preposterous.”

    Also, io9’s right, was totally on the verge of correcting his Trek reference.

  4. I had been wondering what, if anything, the in-studio talent is looking at. Perhaps they’ve adopted the Jar Jar method of sticking a couple ping-pong balls on a mic stand in the middle of the set.

    The blue halo around the edges implies chromakey to me.

    As for its utility, I can’t help but wonder if the traditional splitscreen isn’t a little more efficient and informative– that way, we can see both (or all) the participants’ faces at the same time. I’m such a Luddite.

  5. Dan: Don’t get your hopes up. As far as we know, holograms visible from all directions in open air are as impossible as hyperdrives.

    Gonk: I think they were just guesstimating eye height, working off the assumption that a normal-sized human was standing in the red dot.

  6. Keep in mind, the hosts can see the video feed as it’s being overlaid. It might not help them make eye contact, but it’s the same idea as the weather man knowing where to put his hand on a green screen so he can point to areas of interest.

    This was hokey and stupid and I’m actually pretty ashamed they did it and had the nerve to call it a hologram. It’s insulting.

  7. This is what bugs me. The blue halo is totally icing. It’s dialed in. It’s not needed. You can pull off real-time video comp without that edge. Heck, Carl Sagan did it in Cosmos 30 years ago.

    I think it’s telling that this is the thing that got me most impassioned about election night. :)


  8. Agreed, Pablo. That and the “beam in” effect are totally unneeded.

    The consensus seems to be that the whole thing was pointless… BUT I can see this being kind of cool in roundtable discussions where they have 4 people physically there and want a 5th to join in from, you know, Iraq (a la Yoda telecommuting to the Jedi Council meeting from Kashyyyk).

    But that might be harder to pull off.

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