Argentinian sports club Estudiantes de la Plata celebrated its first match in the Estudiantes stadium since 2005 with an impressive show featuring a gigantic flaming lion prowling around the stadium in hologram-like form. Coverage of the event by BBC Sports described the display as a "giant lion hologram”.
Following the broadcast, some social media users expressed discontent with the accuracy of the coverage, explaining that the display is not a true hologram.
They just played an 'augmented reality' video on the screens in the stadium, nobody actually saw sod all! Bit rubbish. https://t.co/QKSS5aCBXr
An art director and graphic artist familiar with manipulating images told E&T that: “The crucial thing here is that [the BBC] shouldn't be taking press release waffle at face value. You'd think, particularly after wreathgate yesterday [in which the BBC replaced footage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrongly placing a remembrance wreath with similar footage from 2016 during its BBC Breakfast coverage of the ceremony] and during an election they'd go to great lengths to fact check these things. It's laughable to have just reproduced such journalism.”
Speaking to E&T via email, Professor Robert Stone, director of the University of Birmingham's human interface technologies team, commented that the display is “absolutely NOT a hologram - at best it's a - not very well done - AR implementation”. He suggested that the display could have been generated in similar fashion to the image below, which was animated using PROmax3D.
Stone said that this could be combined “with readily available online animated fire assets”.
“At worst - and I suspect this to be the case, given the very fake-looking stadium and audience - it's a not very well done VR/basic CGI sequence using similar cheaply available asserts. Too many folks [are] quick to call these things holograms.”
Stone's scathing assessment could raise questions about why the BBC producers were unable to distinguish the display from a true hologram.
University of Westminster computer science expert Dr Li Jin told E&T that the designers may have used '7D Hologram Technology' to achieve the flaming lion display; a method for capturing high-quality holograms using seven parameters, including 2D angle, light properties, and time: “The latest technology has been popular in Japan and Dubai and for instance in Dubai Malls, in cinemas and other public places such as theatre stages and so on,” she told E&T via email.