Rear Projection Set-Up Pretty Nicely Puts A Person In NYC On A Conference Panel In Atlanta

August 9, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Here’s an interesting variation of technology efforts to get a speaker or panelist at a business event, without asking the person to travel – a rear-projection set-up on a stage that reasonably nicely integrates with the stage and the other people on it.

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School used a set-up from Toronto-based ARHT Media to include the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer from Accenture at an executive MBA event in Atlanta.

“We decided to use the holographic technology for this event because Jill Kramer was busy at the time, and was unable to come to the Atlanta area and participate in person. So, therefore, we thought this was an amazing opportunity to use this technology to beam her into the session,” explains  Jaclyn Conner, Associate Dean of Emory’s MBA program.

“The greatest advantage was that we didn’t have to transport or carry any equipment. Jill was in the ARHT studio in New York, where our team assisted her in preparation. We were able to leverage the power of video prep and work collaboratively as a team, with the guidance of the ARHT team. The entire operation was seamless and effortless,” adds Lanero Hill, Academic Media Services Manager for ARHT.

Attendees in Atlanta were able to see and hear Kramer in real time as if she was physically present on stage. The holographic image was so realistic, engaging, and personal that attendees felt like she was right there with them, even though she was beaming in from thousands of miles away in New York City.

“ARHT’s holographic technology enhanced the presentation because it looked like Jill was physically in the room. She was beamed in, and that had an amazing impact on the students. And we had that “aha” moment and wow experience when she was beamed in,” continues Jackie.

To be clear, this is not holographic technology. It’s just a projection on a transparent screen. These guys – Daniel Smalley or Gavin Smith – can tell you what is and is not a hologram. Holograms have depth. This is a flat image on a screen.

But I get and accept that technology firms marketing specialty displays like this, and those madly spinning LED light sticks, need to call it something familiar to non-technical buyers. Consumers have a vague, general idea of holograms as things that appear in unexpected places.

Why I think this is interesting is that the projection set up is done in such a way that it fits in. Kramer is sitting on a director’s chair and kind of snugged in with the other folks on the stage, so that people in the audience can at least start to think of her being there.

That works better, I think, than the more typical approach lately of plopping a transparent LCD unit that looks like a big metal shower stall on a stage, without much or any effort to make it look like something other than a big metal shower stall on a stage. I think those stall units, first developed by LA-based Proto and inevitably mimicked by competitors like ARHT, are good at solving the problem of keynote speakers who can’t make the trip. But they’d be more compelling if they somehow fit into the stage design and backdrop.

Here’s an example of a recent event that saw Star Trek actor William Shatner show up at an ad industry event in Australia, while being video captured in a Los Angeles studio by Proto. It beats the hell out of a video call shown on a big screen, or Shatner simply saying “That’s a 13+ hour business flight – each way – I’m not prepared to take … so, sorry.”

But it looks like a seven-foot shower stall plopped on a stage.


  1. Wes says:

    The Emory Univ Panel solution is wonderful. Less about “high tech” and more about the staging and setup. Very Clever!!!

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