If you were watching CNN last night you might caught a live television first, interview via "hologram". Well, sort of. Now don’t get me wrong, this was totally cool and I instantly thought of Princess Leia in Star Wars. (Then again, so did the first person they did this with.) In case you missed it, here’s what Wil.i.am looked like:
And here’s the reverse angle:
As described by CNN, the hologrammed person was standing inside a tent with about 35 high definition cameras surrounding them which were synchronized with the in-studio cameras in order to show the correct angle of the person on the broadcast. Please keep in mind that Anderson Cooper in these images is not actually seeing the person standing there. At best, he’s looking at an off-screen monitor. (One can only hope that monitor was in the shape of R2-D2.) The hologram isn’t truly a hologram in that sense. The remote person is being added into the broadcast signal so us at home can see them; he’s not an image free-floating in the studio. (OK, honestly, that’s how I think it worked. If I’m totally wrong, please correct me.)
Overall the effect was definitely cool. The thin blue outline around the beamed-in folks added a bit of sci-fi to the whole thing which I’m not sure was good or bad. On the one hand it was a smidge distracting. On the other, it made it clear that the person wasn’t really there and in the case of a news report I’d like to keep things as "real" as possible.
Update: io9 has the video of the Will.i.am appearance.