CNN's holographic election coverage is fancy pantsy, but how did they manage to send 3D 360 degree footage of virtual correspondent Jessica Yellin from Chicago all the way to the station's election centre in NY? As Arthur C. Clarke says, Magic. A magic made possible from technology Vizrt and SportVu with the help of forty-four HD cameras and twenty computers. Here are the details.
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, synchronising 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):
It's still Jessica Yellin and you look like Jessica Yellin and we know you are Jessica Yellin. I think a lot of people are nervous out there. All right, Jessica. You were a terrific hologram.
• 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