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CNN Goes Holographic

Beam me up, Blitzer!

In the fierce one-upmanship among news channels to produce stunning election-night visuals, CNN debuted a couple of razzle-dazzle holographic features – including one that made it appear as if its New York studio anchors were conducting in-person interviews with people at the campaign rallies in Chicago and Phoenix.

To produce the 3-D effect, CNN had 44 cameras and 20 computers in each remote location to capture 360-degree imaging data of the person being interviewed.

Here’s Wolf Blitzer, anchor of CNN’s Situation Room, telling the 3-D image of correspondent Jessica Yellin: "Jessica, you’re a terrific hologram":

I presume the engineers who cooked up this visual trick were inspired by Princess Leia’s flickering 3-D appeal to Obi-Wan Kenobi in a galaxy far, far away. CNN employed technology from two Israeli companies: Vizrt, a provider of media-production tools, and SportVu, a developer of real-time camera tracking systems.

The other holographic feature, an extension of CNN’s "magic wall," depicted a 6-foot-long virtual U.S. Capitol in 3-D that reporters used to break down data showing the balance of power in the House and Senate: