Saturday, November 8, 2008

Virtual Reality News on Election Night

I was taken by the unabashed use of glitzy visual effects on election night. One of the flashiest was the bar-chart that popped up from the floor in beside Ann Curry on MSNBC and NBC. She is in a virtual room where the signage changes reflecting the subject matter. The columns and the walls are all virtual. I understand the panning of the camera around the room required dense computing power.


MSNBC was tame compared to the Holographic Girl on CNN. Jessica Yellin appeared superimposed electronically in the studio with a glowy halo around her like Obiwan Kanobi. She was photographed from 360 degrees by 35 cameras, digitized and then electronically pasted into the frame. Her image was oriented based on the camera position in Wolf Blitzer's studio. In this case, it had novelty value only. It is better to see a correspondent the field, or even the anchor at the news event. I don't need to see the field correspondent in the studio -- who cares about the studio? This technology might be better for an interview subject rather than a reporter. 

Wired Magazine has details.