Thursday, November 6, 2008

CNN's Hologram. Real or Fake?

CNN made huge waves on Tuesday night by incorporating, what they claim to be, a three-dimensional hologram into its coverage of the U.S. election. The question I first asked when I saw this was, "was it really a hologram"?

I'm sure that whatever it was, it was very sophisticated. But no hologram. The technology is so complex and computing power is so powerful, that we are not there yet.

At about 7 p.m. EST USA, reporter Jessica Yellin, who was in Chicago, spoke with New York based anchor Wolf Blitzer live "via hologram," CNN said.

She seemed to appear a bit fuzzy as her image was apparently projected a few feet in front of Blitzer. The image appeared to glow around the edges as well. "You're a terrific hologram," Blitzer said to her. Making good use of the power of suggestion.

"It's like I follow the tradition of Princess Leia," she said, making reference to the Star Wars character and obviously some reference to the holograms in the movies. Which also seemed to glow around the edges and appear a bit fuzzy. Kind of coincidental, don't you think?

Was CNN playing on our minds and our infatuation with sci-fi and the likes of Star Wars?

Apparently her image was being filmed in Chicago by 35 high-definition cameras. These cameras were set in a ring inside a special tent. The images were then processed and synchronized by 20 computers to the cameras in the New York studio.

Sources tell me that the CNN anchors were not really speaking to three-dimensional projected images, but rather empty space. The images were simply added to what viewers saw on their screens at home, in much the same way computer-generated special effects, like the hologram of Leia, are added to movies, like Star Wars, as suggested in the interview.

These images were tomograms. Tomograms are images that are captured from all sides. Then reconstructed by computers. Finally displayed on screen. Much like what happened in the movie "The matrix".

Holograms, on the other hand, are projected into space.
Sources tell me that holographic images are generally captured and projected using coherent light such as lasers. A laser would need to be more than six feet in diameter to capture a person's image, which I believe is impossible. Probably because such a huge light source would be blinding.

I also believe that our current hologram technology requires some sort of floor pad or plate, which is absent from the CNN footage.

CNN reporting that this is a hologram, was this then a lie or the truth? Where then does the line stand between truth and lies? Should journalists and news companies be able to lie about news and technology, in order to gain viewers or readership? Should they twist the truth to increase their rankings in the viewers poll. Should they be sensationalists with no regard to accuracy and facts.

Why would CNN lie about this being a hologram? Is its cheesy reporting, aimed to capture your attention no matter what the truth might be?

The real question is. Do you really care? Are you actually concerned that this type of deception is going on, or are you captivated by the entertainment?

What do you think about this? Did you believe that it was a real hologram? Were you amazed?

Let me and others know. Leave your comment. what did you think?

BTW, CNN could not be reached for comment.


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