Wolf Blitzer communicated with Jessica Yellin via a holographic projection for the first time on television during the election night. Check it out ion action if you missed it.

Here is how it works:

On the subject’s side:

• 35 HD cameras pointed at the subject in a ring
• Different cameras shoot at different angles (like the matrix), to transmit the entire body image
• The cameras are hooked up to the cameras in home base in NY, synchronizing the angles so perspective is right
• The system is set up in trailers outside Obama and McCain HQ
• Not only is it mechanical tracking via camera communication, there’s infrared as well
• Correspondents see a 37-inch plasma where the return feed of the combined images are fed back to them. Useful for a misplaced hair or an unseemly boogar
• Twenty “computers” are crunching this data in order to make it usable

On the HQ side:

• Only used on two out of 40-something total camera feeds that CNN has
• Wolf Blitzer really loves it (or loves Jessica Yellin)
• The delay is either minimal, or we’ve gotten used to satellite delay that we don’t even notice now
• An array of computers takes the crunched info feed from the subject’s side in order to mesh it with the video from Wolf’s side.
• Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the images are actually “projected” onto the floor of the CNN studio so that Wolf can actually talk to the person, you know, in a face to face. So it’s not quite Star Wars just yet. Only after computers merge the video feeds together do you get a coherent hologram + person scenario


Further Reading:

How the CNN Holographic Interview System Works (Gizmodo)
CNN’s human ‘hologram’ on election night (CNET)
How CNN’s Holograms Almost Stole the Show (Wired)


4 thoughts on “Star Wars Technology: Holographic Reportage on CNN

  1. Wait so how in the world was that holograph projected? Onto what kind of material? The crazy camera setup she was talking about seemed insane, but didn’t speak about the “canvas” she was on…

  2. I updated the post 🙂 It looks like there are many cameras involved and quite alot of computing. It looks like the computers are merging the feeds rather than projecting the hologram – not quite Star Wars yet 😛

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