Thursday, November 06, 2008


You'll've heard all the "hilarious" quips by now, regarding CNN's so-called holographic technology. "Help me Obiwan Keblitzer", "beam me up" and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I didn't laugh either.

There has been much news handed to this oddball piece of technology since it debuted on CNN's widely watched election night coverage - or, as perhaps it should be renamed, "O"lection Night - and as a news junkie and techie geek, I feel like I should be all over this new and exciting technology, prodding it accidentally with inappropriate extremities. Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy, but I can't see exactly what this technology is for, other than do say "wooo! Look what WE can do!"

Don't get me wrong, it's somewhat impressive that an object in CSO is panned around at the same speed as the background. God knows what the directors of 1970s Dr Who episodes could have done with it. The question is what, exactly, its role is on a news channel. Look, I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when pretty much all tv was cheap as chips and made out of cardboard and balsa wood. Back in those days, it was impressive enough that the newsreader could talk to someone in a far away broom cupboard and they had proper sound and vision, not just a phoned-in report over a hastily assembled map of the region with a picture of the reporter holding a phone and looking serious hastily pasted in at the side. But it worked. What else do you need? Why does it need to appear that the interview subject is in the same room as Wolf Blitzer, particularly when they make such a fuss about them being so far away?

This, from CNN:

The technology involved placing a subject in the middle of a bright-green circular room inside a large tent at Obama's Grant Park victory celebration.

The subject was then filmed with 35 high-definition video cameras, barely larger than average point-and-shoot cameras, which ringed the wall of the circular room. The video cameras were 6 inches apart and at eye level, 220 degrees around the subject.

Did you catch that? THIRTY FIVE high definition cameras circling a reporter inside a big green circus tent, just so she can make lame-ass Star Wars references. I know I'm a big looney lefty socialist who wants to tell everyone what to do with their own riches and all, but all the time and money spent on this, not to mention the thirty five individual HD cameras, could it not have been better spent... oh, I dunno... gathering news? And anyway - said he, putting on his tv producer's hat - the reporter appearing to be in the CNN studio sort of belies the reason for her being where news is happening. TV news, by its very nature, has to be visual. Would it not have made more sense for her to do her report from inside the crowd? Or in front of the stage?

"This just in to the CNN newsroom, a huge fire in the downtown Los Angeles area which threatens to destroy five of the buildings that are already ablaze, and several others beside it. Our own reporter Jessica Yellin is on the scene."

"That's right, Wolf, and I've just popped into my big-ass green tent to tell you all about it."

1 comment:

RedZeppelin said...

To coin one of your phrases, look how many HD cameras it takes to bore me.

It's nothing more than a gimmick to attempt to set CNN apart from the others. It's infotainment!