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When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000
08-29-2010, 05:30 PM,
When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000
Quote:When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen

Broadcasters are using virtual imaging technology to alter live broadcasts - and not even the news is safe from tampering

Monday, 24 January 2000

Viewers tuning into American broadcaster CBS's recent news coverage of the millennium celebrations in New York witnessed a televisual sleight of hand which enabled CBS to alter the reality of what they saw. Using "virtual imaging" technology, the broadcaster seamlessly adjusted live video images to include an apparently real promotion for itself in Times Square. The move has sparked debate about the ethics of using advances in broadcast technology to alter reality without telling viewers that what they are seeing isn't really there.

While it's little surprise that advances in TV technology enable broadcasters to better manipulate existing images and create new ones, what is surprising is that this was done during a live broadcast and in a news programme. The CBS evening news coverage involved replacing the logo of rival network NBC with the CBS logo on a large video screen in Times Square. NBC was "outraged" by the use of the technology, and even CBS's evening news presenter, Dan Rather, admitted it was a "mistake".

The technology to do this comes from the defence industry where, following the end of the Cold War, a number of companies have developed new ways of commercially exploiting their military navigation and tracking expertise.

The system CBS used was developed by a United States company called Princeton Video Images (PVI). Other players in this field include Symah Vision - part of French defence to media group Lagadere; Israel-based Orad Hi Tech Systems, and SciDex, another Israeli firm with offices in Europe and the US. Each system, while similar, has its differences. None of the companies will publicly discuss how their's works. But the principle is common: each alters the live video image in the split second before it is broadcast.

"The prime use of our system is to insert promotional images into live coverage, or as a post-production application for pre-recorded (TV) shows - for example, to insert branded goods into the action that weren't really there, for product placement," Denny Wilkinson, PVI's chief executive officer, explains. "Advertising, however, has by far and away the biggest potential for this. It's where the money is."

The use of this technology is already becoming familiar in sports coverage. A number of international sports organisers have recognised the potential to generate more advertising revenue by - in effect - re-selling the same perimeter advertising billboards at their stadia. Through virtual imaging, different advertisers' brands can be seen in different countries that take the live broadcast feed.

A number of European broadcasters including Sky TV have already run "virtual advertising" trials. Mexican broadcasters, meanwhile, have fully embraced virtual imaging systems. And different sports - notably Formula 1 - now acknowledge the potential to deal with restrictions on tobacco advertising in certain countries by replacing cigarette branding in some territories with other images.

The use of this technology for editorial purposes however is more contentious. Already, other media owners - notably newspapers - have had to deal with concerns about digitally manipulating photographic images used in news pages. The Mirror's doctoring of photographs of the Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed holidaying together was perhaps the highest profile example.

Now concern is being voiced over TV viewers believing they can see something which is not actually there. Which is why it is hard to find anyone in UK broadcasting ready to admit that they - like CBS - are considering the potential of this technology beyond advertising. Sky, however, sees the technology's use as a way of enhancing "the look" of its sports coverage. "We use the ORAD system for a combination of editorial and promotional use," explains Phil Madge, Sky TV studio graphics supervisor "We are using it now to build virtual screens which hang down from the roof of various football stadia to highlight upcoming events, pre-recorded footage and Sky Sports promotions."

Sky purchased the system at the start of the current football season, although it had run a number of trials previously, Madge adds. It has been used less for virtual advertising due to a combination of Independent Television Commission restriction and Football Association concerns. However, it was also used by Sky News to create a virtual studio for the channel's millennium coverage.

"There is great potential to use virtual imaging in other ways but it remains a tool whose biggest advantage is for live broadcasting," Madge says. "There are obvious advantages in virtual studios as you don't need a physical set, just a blue screen against which the presenter is shot and a three-D computer model. You can change it over very quickly - there's no need to shift scenery. The downside is it can look quite computer `graphicsy', and a bit naff."

CBS's problems arise from the fact that its use of the PVI system went one step further than "enhancing" the look of its presentation: it tampered with the reality of an actual event it was depicting in a news show, raising the spectre of TV news reporters reporting "live" from around the world when they're actually far closer to home. The broadcaster - which has also used virtual imaging to modify the New York cityscape - defended itself by insisting: "CBS News' internal standards prohibit digital manipulation or other faking of news footage."

However, a CBS spokeswoman admitted that virtual insertion technology is yet to be covered by the broadcaster's guidelines. But Dan Rather, for one, thinks it should be. "At the very least we should have pointed out to viewers we were doing it,'' he told the New York Times. "I did not grasp the possible ethical implications of this and that was wrong on my part.''

CBS is not the only broadcaster to use this technology in news broadcasts. Rival ABC recently included a report on Congress by a reporter wearing an overcoat in front of what to viewers seemed to be the US Capitol. The entire report was taped in a studio.

UK programme makers, however, doubt virtual imaging technology requires guidelines any different to the ones they already have relating to editorial balance, accuracy and fairness. "Any form of factual programme-making involves some form of editing of events. It's not hard to present the same situation in a number of different ways," one documentary maker explains. "But it is up to the integrity of the programme-maker to do so with integrity in a way that is both responsible and accurate. The same approach must apply to any production method."

It is a view which seems to be shared by the ITC, whose guidelines relate to the use of virtual imaging by advertisers - none specifically relate to editorial use. "It is an issue that crosses a number of regulatory areas - it could be a matter of inaccuracy, or undue prominence, or fairness. If it arose, we would have to consider each case on its own merits," a spokeswoman says.

Trouble is, for the time being at least, the onus is on the viewer to draw any example of tampering with reality to the attention of the regulator which then would investigate retrospectively. Assuming, that is, that they realise what they are seeing isn't real.
08-29-2010, 06:03 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-31-2010, 02:08 AM by solar.)
RE: When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000

by William M. Arkin, special to [excerpts of article from this link]

Monday, Feb. 1, 1999

[beginning of first excerpt--]

"Gentlemen! We have called you together to inform you that we are going to overthrow the United States government."

So begins a statement being delivered by Gen. Carl W. Steiner, former Commander-in-chief, U.S. Special Operations Command.

At least the voice sounds amazingly like him.

But it is not Steiner.

It is the result of voice "morphing" technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

By taking just a 10-minute digital recording of Steiner's voice, scientist George Papcun is able, in near real time, to clone speech patterns and develop an accurate facsimile.

Steiner was so impressed, he asked for a copy of the tape.

Steiner was hardly the first or last victim to be spoofed by Papcun's team members.

To refine their method, they took various high quality recordings of generals and experimented with creating fake statements.

One of the most memorable is Colin Powell stating "I am being treated well by my captors."

"They chose to have him say something he would never otherwise have said," chuckled one of Papcun's colleagues.

A Box of Chocolates is Like War --

Most Americans were introduced to the tricks of the digital age in the movie Forrest Gump, when the character played by Tom Hanks appeared to shake hands with President Kennedy.

For Hollywood, it is special effects.

For covert operators in the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, it is a weapon of the future.

"Once you can take any kind of information and reduce it into ones and zeros, you can do some pretty interesting things," says Daniel T. Kuehl, chairman of the Information Operations department of the National Defense University in Washington, the military's school for information warfare.

PSYOPS seeks to exploit human vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations --

Digital morphing — voice, video, and photo — has come of age, available for use in psychological operations.

PSYOPS, as the military calls it, seek to exploit human vulnerabilities in enemy governments, militaries and populations to pursue national and battlefield objectives.

To some, PSYOPS is a backwater military discipline of leaflet dropping and radio propaganda.

To a growing group of information war technologists, it is the nexus of fantasy and reality.

Being able to manufacture convincing audio or video, they say, might be the difference in a successful military operation or coup.

Allah on the Holodeck --

Pentagon planners started to discuss digital morphing after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Covert operators kicked around the idea of creating a computer-faked videotape of Saddam Hussein crying or showing other such manly weaknesses, or in some sexually compromising situation.

The nascent plan was for the tapes to be flooded into Iraq and the Arab world.

The tape war never proceeded, killed, participants say, by bureaucratic fights over jurisdiction, skepticism over the technology, and concerns raised by Arab coalition partners.

But the "strategic" PSYOPS scheming didn't die.

What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad? --

What if the U.S. projected a holographic image of Allah floating over Baghdad urging the Iraqi people and Army to rise up against Saddam, a senior Air Force officer asked in 1990?

According to a military physicist given the task of looking into the hologram idea, the feasibility had been established of projecting large, three-dimensional objects that appeared to float in the air.

But doing so over the skies of Iraq?

To project such a hologram over Baghdad on the order of several hundred feet, they calculated, would take a mirror more than a mile square in space, as well as huge projectors and power sources.

And besides, investigators came back, what does Allah look like ?

The Gulf War hologram story might be dismissed were it not the case that has learned that a super secret program was established in 1994 to pursue the very technology for PSYOPS application. The "Holographic Projector" is described in a classified Air Force document as a system to "project information power from space ... for special operations deception missions."

War is Like a Box of Chocolates --

Voice-morphing ?

Fake video ?

Holographic projection ?

They sound more like Mission Impossible and Star Trek gimmicks than weapons.

Yet for each, there are corresponding and growing research efforts as the technologies improve and offensive information warfare expands.

Whereas early voice morphing required cutting and pasting speech to put letters or words together to make a composite, Papcun's software developed at Los Alamos can far more accurately replicate the way one actually speaks. Eliminated are the robotic intonations.

[end of first excerpt]

[beginning of second excerpt--]

Video and photo manipulation has already raised profound questions of authenticity for the journalistic world.

With audio joining the mix, it is not only journalists but also privacy advocates and the conspiracy-minded who will no doubt ponder the worrisome mischief that lurks in the not too distant future.

"We already know that seeing isn't necessarily believing," says Dan Kuehl, "now I guess hearing isn't either."

[end of second excerpt, complete article at this link]

William M. Arkin, author of "The U.S. Military Online," is a leading expert on national security and the Internet. He lectures and writes on nuclear weapons, military matters and information warfare. An Army intelligence analyst from 1974-1978, Arkin currently consults for, Newsweek Interactive, MSNBC and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
08-29-2010, 06:15 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-29-2010, 06:30 PM by nik.)
RE: When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000

A Subsidiary of PVI, Princeton Video Image Europe, N.V. Will Open A New Market for Virtual Technology Worldwide

Lawrenceville, New Jersey - Princeton Video Image, Inc. (Nasdaq: PVII), the global leader in virtual advertising and imaging solutions for television, today announced the formation of Princeton Video Image Europe, N.V. ("PVI Europe") in partnership with Interactive Media, N.V. A majority owned subsidiary of PVI, this new company will open a substantial worldwide marketplace for virtual technology. PVI will own 90% of the new company while Interactive Media will own the remaining 10%. PVI Europe will be headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

The recent decision by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to allow the use of virtual advertising in FIFA-sanctioned soccer matches will signify the opening of a substantial new market for PVI. Virtual advertising has already proven to be a valuable marketing tool in non-sanctioned soccer broadcasts worldwide.

PVI announced that Frank Aernout has been hired as Chief Operating Officer of PVI Europe. Mr. Aernout brings over 12 years of diverse experience in all aspects of sales and marketing management with him to PVI Europe. Prior to joining PVI Europe, Frank spent four years at BMG Belgium/Benelux as Managing Director of BMG Belgium and Deputy Managing Director of BMG Benelux. He was responsible for the profits and losses of BMG Belgium, identifying and recommending long-term strategies for the company, and the supervision of financial, sales and marketing management, including development of objectives, policies and programs for all departments.

"As a result of this new management taking charge of PVI-trained personnel, already in place in Europe, we will be positioned to benefit from what will be dramatic growth in this significant market," said Dennis Wilkinson President and CEO of PVI. "Partnering with Interactive Media will give us the upper hand in providing the best virtual technology to the viewers."

"It is very important that PVI created PVI Europe to incorporate this unique technology into a new and exciting, but undeveloped market such as Europe," said Mr. Aernout "Virtual technology has changed the face of television and it will become a successful way to advertise in Europe for years to come."

PVI Europe began work immediately by providing virtual game enhancements in the recent NFL Europe World Bowl 2000 played between the Scotland Claymores and the Rhein Fire on June 25, 2000, with the Rhein Fire winning the game 13-10. During that broadcast, a branded virtual First-Down Line appeared throughout the game. This was the first time that a branded virtual First-Down Line was seen by a worldwide audience. In addition to the virtual First-Down Line, PVI Europe also provided a virtual Red Zone enhancement, which appears on television as a red area inside the 20-yard line. Viewers were able to tell in an instant how close one team was to scoring.

About Princeton Video Image, Inc. (

The global leader in virtual advertising and imaging solutions for television, PVI has developed and marketed a real-time video insertion system. This system, through patented pattern recognition technology, places computer-generated electronic images into television broadcasts of sporting events as well as other programming (Bored). These electronic images range from simple corporate names and logos to sophisticated 3-D images and animated effects. PVI has provided video insertion services for thousands of live telecasts worldwide, including broadcasts of Major League Baseball, National League Football, professional soccer, motor sports, and other live events. PVI is the exclusive virtual advertising provider for NFL International broadcasts. Beyond sports venues, PVI's virtual imaging technology provides branding-oriented program enhancements for The Early Show on CBS. The Company is headquartered in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, with offices in New York City and Brussels, as well as licensees' offices in Madrid, Mexico City and Johannesburg.

Any statements contained in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, those relating to market acceptance, dependence on strategic partners and third party sales, contractual restraints on use of PVI's technology, a rapidly changing commercial and technological environment, competition, possible adverse regulations, need for additional financing, intellectual property rights and litigation, and other risks identified in PVI's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. PVI undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Distributed by PR Newswire on behalf of Princeton Video Image
08-29-2010, 06:49 PM,
RE: When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Mohandas Gandhi

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
08-29-2010, 07:03 PM,
RE: When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000
Quote: Another recent SciDel test involved on-court

virtual branding during coverage of the ATP Tour shown in France,

Germany and Italy. Consumer research showed it achieved 60 per cent

unprompted audience recall.

Princeton Video Image has struck a deal with the San Francisco Giants

baseball team to provide electronic billboards for games. Virtual

advertising has been generated live, adjusting to camera angles and

allowing players to walk in front of it as if it were a real sign.


The technology behind virtual advertising originated in the defence

industry where, following the end of the Cold War, companies developed

new ways to commercially exploit military navigation and tracking

expertise. There are four key players in the virtual advertising


EPSIS has been pioneered by Symah Vision, part of the French defence to

media group, Lagadere.

ORAD is a system jointly marketed by IVS - a joint initiative between

the sports marketing giant, ISL, and Israel’s Orad Hi Tech Systems.

SciDel has been developed by SciDex, an Israeli-based company with

offices in Europe and the US.

L-VIS is a US system developed by Princeton Video Images.

Like the recipe for Coca-Cola, how each system works - and differs -

remains a closed secret.


In essence, virtual advertising technology doctors TV coverage of a

sports event before broadcast. Virtual images are inserted, enabling

different brands or even advertisers to be seen within the same basic

feed in different countries.

’Virtual advertising allows you to ’narrowcast’ different messages

simultaneously,’ Halden explains.

’It has the potential to allow 100 different countries to see sports

coverage of a single event with 100 different sponsors’ messages, or 100

different variations of a single message.’

The technology can be applied to the footage of an event at that event

with a special unit sitting alongside the outside broadcast unit

shooting the coverage. Or, it can be applied to footage transmitted via

satellite to the headquarters of the technology provider where it is

doctored before footage is then transmitted via satellite around the


Alternatively, it can be applied at the headquarters of the broadcaster

responsible for relaying coverage to viewers in a particular country -

as was the case with a recent Allied Domecq/EPSIS test on Sky

08-30-2010, 09:32 PM,
RE: When TV brings you the news as it didn't happen. Monday, 24 January 2000
(08-29-2010, 06:49 PM)icosaface Wrote: Fukum!


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