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Holographic TV: BBC Looks To Bring Content To Life

The BBC has been experimenting with holographic TV, creating a device employing different technologies and techniques, looking to bring archival footage to life.

As explained by Cyrus Saihan, BBC head of digital partnerships, via a blog post, a similar experience to the Princess Leia hologram from Star Wars “might not be that far away”.

“Holographic experiences, like ultra-high definition or virtual reality, offer audiences a level of detail and realism that only a short while ago seemed virtually impossible, but that are now becoming a reality,” Saihan writes.

“For our experiment, we used existing technologies and simple techniques to explore ‘holographic’ content.

“The device that we made also gives us an extremely low-fi and low-cost way to assess how the ‘floating’ images of augmented and mixed reality devices, which aren’t readily available for audience testing, might be used to view BBC content in the future.”

Saihan explains that an acrylic pyramid was placed on a 46” flat-screen TV to “create the illusion of floating ‘holographic’-like images”.

Video footage meeting a designated criteria was then selected, with the BBC working in conjuction with UK-based visual effects and hologram specialist MDH Hologram to bring the archive footage to life.

Saihan writes that it “produced some striking results”, drawing mixed reactions among audience members that it was tested on, while the device had limitations, only working with certain types of footage, requiring a low level of light for maximum impact and having narrow viewing angles.

“Our experiment was fairly simplistic, but the new technologies on the horizon have the potential to completely change the way that audiences experience media content in the future,” Saihan writes.

“You can imagine a world where instead of watching a film star being interviewed on the sofa of a TV chat show, they feel as if they are sitting right next to you on your own sofa in your living room, or where instead of looking at a 2D image of Mount Everest, it appears as if the snow on the mountain top is falling around you.”

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