01 juin 2009

CNN hologram in English

"You've never seen anything like this on television" CNN's election night hologram
By HarryTuttle (April 2009) at Rouge (issue 13) May 2009
translated from the French version (Nov 2008)
Forgery, misinterpretation and hidden flaws: televisual media stumble in the era of hyper-information. Let us examine the nature of images used on television, their vulgarisation in public discourse and their onscreen perversion.
It's more about TV (not my preferred domain I must confess) than cinema unfortunately... but now it's out there. I touch on a couple of issues I'm interested in, like the perception of images and the misappropriation of visual constructs, which would require further investigations around the new types of daily life images, on TV and online.
My first full length article published in English language, in no less than the best online journal for Cinema studies : Rouge! Adrian Martin was kind enough to give it a chance and asked me to publish it. Many thanks. That's quite an achievement for a no-name French dude like me. I'm very proud. I could retire happy and satisfied.

2 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

The implicit point of my comparison between embedded pseudo-holograms in live news footage and the special effects manipulation in cartoons and movies could have been explained more clearly I realize. I should have expanded all the part on head-and-shoulder mini windows inserts where the guests stare blankly at the camera. Sometimes the host even reads a prompter instead of looking at the audience in the eyes. Which is another approximation for a real eye contact. They think it's OK, that the eye movement is minimal enough that it won't be noticed by most spectators. But like the uncanny valley, it is something that makes use uncomfortable even if we don't notice it consciously (which will be increasingly harder on huge screens and high definition!)
The fact is that we CAN sense that the person is not looking at us directly when they talk to the camera, their regard is busy reading a speech they'd rather learn by heart and recite with real expressions, without the need to stare constantly in front of them.
And for the inserted mini-windows lined up on screen, the new CNN technology of pseudo-hologram should rather be used to help guests give eye contact to each others. I didn't develop this point either. I was thinking about relative motion and micro mise en scene. But if you put TV screens around the remote guest in his/her isolated studio, in the direction where the other persons are supposed to be. Which could either correspond to the real setting of the main studio, or to a made up conventional set up, like a fictive triangle/square, where people each can face to the right/left corner to look at whoever is speaking.
In cinema they resolve this issue with countershots, and the 180° rule. We therefore understand intuitively who is looking at who depending on the direction they face in relation to this imaginary sight line axis defined by camera angles.
Likewise on TV, they could install the same conventional spatial relation between separate images that are inserted in the same scene. Instead of everyone facing directly to the camera, blankly, as if they were all trapped in a box, with walls between them.
The purpose of this technology is not to recreate a proximity that doesn't exist, but to facilitate the interactions (body language) between guests who are not in presence of each others. Thus we could see if they look at each other when they speak/listen, or if they tend to look away for a second, or look at the "reaction shot" of another guest present (on a screen in another direction). This would bring back a sense of group interaction between superimposed layers of virtual images. We don't need to be told that these people are really in the same studio, we just want to see a lively spark in their eyes and an expressive body language reflecting their involvement with the conversation. We don't care for robots who have only one single polished, stuck up, stare to give us.
In an uncut wide shot with 2 or more images inserted (the host(s) and guests placed around an imaginary table), which replaces the cuts of the countershots/reaction shots, the pseudo-holograms could freely turn to look at one or the other in a set up entirely made up.
And this could add up to the other aspect I did mention in the article : the micro montage within a shot (blow up on virtual image, or spin it, or move it centre stage) which will further emphasize the relative positions of avatars in the virtual group. And the spectator can still figure out intuitively who looks at who through the coincidence of sight lines virtually reconstructed.

HarryTuttle a dit…

"Impression de réalité, effet de réel" lecture by Laurent Jullier (Forum des Images, April 2009)