Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Green Screens and Computer Screens

As television broadcasts covered election night, they had to grapple with competition from the Internet. While watching broadcasters manipulate giant maps, those accustomed to online interactivity may have preferred choosing their own states or following their own metrics. Obviously information graphics played a major role in how the election night story was reported. For example, CNN effectively called the race long before the official 8PM announcement made out of respect for the Western states at one point when the network's John King was going through the remaining states and rehearsing the best possible geographic scenarios with his Multi-Touch Board, which is made by Perceptive Pixel. Meanwhile MSNBC and NBC continued to feature the Microsoft Surface, the preferred toy for depicting the map of battleground states for their news director Chuck Todd, although on election night it seemed to have been erected to the height of a podium to spare Todd Microsoft Surface coffee-table crouch.

One of the stranger aspects of the coverage was all the attention paid to green screen/blue screen technologies, as though to argue for the continuing advantage of big-budget broadcast media in that area. It led to some ridiculous moments during the night, which included a female reporter showing that she wasn't really in a state capital but in a green screen backdrop and the "hologram" appearance of on CNN that vigilant spoilers say aren't really holograms.

What the TV broadcasters did best, however, was simulcast exultant crowds, much like a New Year's Eve event.

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