November 6th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
7 years ago

Beam me up, Wolf! CNN debuts election-night hologram

CNN's Jessica Yellin appeared live as a hologram before anchor Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night in New York.
CNN's Jessica Yellin appeared live as a hologram before anchor Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night in New York.

(CNN) - It was an election night like none other, in every sense of the phrase. In addition to the obvious - the selection of the nation's first black president - Tuesday night's coverage on CNN showcased groundbreaking technology.

"I want you to watch what we're about to do," CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer told viewers early in the evening's coverage, "because you've never seen anything like this on television."

And he was right. Cue CNN political correspondent Jessica Yellin.

"Hi Wolf!" said Yellin, waving to Blitzer as she stood a few feet in front of him in the network's New York City studios. Or at least, that's the way it appeared at first glance.

In reality, Yellin - a correspondent who had been covering Sen. Barack Obama's campaign - was at the now president-elect's mega-rally along the lakefront in Chicago, Illinois, more than 700 miles away from CNN's Election Center in New York.

It looked like a scene straight out of "Star Wars." Here was Yellin, partially translucent with a glowing blue haze around her, appearing to materialize in thin air. She even referenced the classic movie on her own, saying, "It's like I follow in the tradition of Princess Leia. It's something else."

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Filed under: CNN
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Attorney in FL

    One word: SCARY!

    Think about the evil possibilities with this invention. Ambition is blind....and its things like this that could lead to horrible times...and total demise.

    November 6, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. John, Brooklyn, New York


    I love ya, I really do. However, my reaction (and those who watched the returns with me) was that the holographic projections of Jessica and Will were kinda cheesy – especially for a news organization that has such gravitas.

    The holographic projections that John King used to display the Senate and House seats were OK....but Wolf's having to pretent that he was talking to someone who is actually only being projected on our TV's...and not even projected in the studio...were just plain silly.

    November 6, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Larry

    This was stupid. CNNs wizardry got in the way of their message....the techniques were the focus and not the story. John King is a great reporter...his map was great....but a little bit over the top.

    November 6, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. erawk

    Lame. It was just lame and distracting and any boob with half a brain could tell it was just a green screen gimmick. The amount of time devoted to discussions of how great it was is a clear indication that the staff was concerned it wouldn't be worth the effort... which it wasn't.

    November 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. cyndy

    My husband and I were "cracking" up about this. When we saw that hologram of Jessica, we just couldn't stop laughing. My husband said, "what is this, star wars or CNN? It was just a bit cheesy....

    November 6, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Raf, Brooklyn

    You've gotta be kidding me.

    It would be nice if you spent as much energy ensuring the quality of your reports as you do creating flashy holograms and then writing stories about it.

    I've never seen a more self-congratulatory attitude from such a third-rate media outlet.

    November 6, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Jesse

    This was just silly. I don't think a news broadcast on election night needs sci-fi effects to maintain interest. Actually made me want to turn the channel!!!

    November 6, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Salt

    To be totally honest...I switched to Brian Williams when the hologram nonsense started.

    November 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. sabuc

    The holo was silly. Use the money on other impressive things like the magic wall or a cripser looking background on TV graphics or backgrounds for those of us with HDTVs. The holo of the reporters as well as the silly building graphics with the graphs next to Campbell Brown were laughable. The tech is cool, but it went too far for such a small return.

    November 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. N. S. Huntsville, Al


    November 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Tina

    Stick w/the electoral map with the cool breakdowns but lose the holograms. It was just dumb.

    November 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Matt Karazin

    I'm sorry CNN, but you did not have a hologram.

    The "hologram" was more just an illusion. Jessica Yellin's image was not visible to those in the room, including Wolf Blitzer, even though he made remarks as though he could see her. The "hologram" was actually a computer added image.

    November 6, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Edmund

    Lame and gimmicky. Did nothing to enhance the political coverage, and did nothing to raise the entertainment value, either. But I'm glad to see the 80's style technology is still being pursued. Sorry.

    November 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Edmund

    I wanted to see the background of Chicago or the rally site. That's why Jessica Yellen was in Chicago.

    November 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Carolyn

    Do you even know what a holograph is? Clearly not, and lying to us that it was one was stupid and insulting.

    The floating senate seats were equally stupid.

    I changed the channel whenever these came on. I still always turned back thought, because your analysis is great and everything was spot on.

    You DON'T need the gimmics! Really.

    November 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Carolyn

    Do you even know what a holograph is? Clearly not, and lying to us that it was one was stupid and insulting.

    The floating senate seats were equally stupid.

    November 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. John S

    Obnoxious. For 100% of your viewers, the image was 2-D.

    November 6, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Peronally, I thought it was great and the young people loved it.

    November 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Matt

    Hilarious. Just hilarious. Pat yourself on the back again, CNN. Did you hire Carrot Top to be your Sr. Prop-Comedy Adviser?

    November 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. KLEE

    Oh no the "Attorney in FL' is afraid - I think it's a cool thing – you must remember that these kind of things are just the tip of the iceberg of what will be coming to "your neighborhood soon!"

    I started out using mimeographs & manual typewriters when I was in highschool and first job - It amazes me the technology that comes along every few minutes now – who's to say what this will lead to. \

    We wouldn't be sitting here "blogging" at each other now if someone didn't have a "dream" and went for it.

    November 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Jones

    Really? How lame! CNN should focus on serious news, enough of these gimmicks and made up controversies.. seriously! If CNN can't fill the time with something worthy, then maybe they shouldn't be a 24/7 news network.

    November 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. LAR

    Help me Obiwan! You're our only hope!

    November 6, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Steve the Canadian

    There was no hologram. Tape delays and computer generated effects can do wonders. It was silly. A bit creepy even.

    Loved the map though.

    November 6, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. public opinion

    Breaking news!! Correction: Obama is not an african american, he is half black, and half white. So just as much of the time he is referred to as a black man he could easily and equally be referred to as a white man. Its just the facts people, sorry to burst your bubbles, but thems the facts, Obama is not the first african american president, he is the first HALF black, and HALF white president. aight! Peace

    November 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. sarah

    cnn that was totally unnecessary. please no more holograms!!

    November 6, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |