What’s an isolation booth?

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An isolation booth is a soundproof booth used on game shows to isolate contestants from hearing each other’s responses. It was first used on the $64,000 Question and was controversially used to pass on answers. It is also used in recording studios and sometimes in sports broadcasting.

An isolation booth is a soundproof and often sight-proof booth used on game shows to isolate a contestant from hearing another contestant’s responses. It was first used in television shows such as the $64,000 Question.

The use of the isolation booth in this particular program was well documented in the movie Quiz Show as the answers were passed on to some participants thus negating the true outcomes of the game. Some participants were asked to pitch games to attract contestants who seemed more popular or “watchable.” The controversy over the use of the isolation booth in Question has led to stricter rules for participating in game shows.

Classic uses of the isolation booth in game shows were the Newlywed Game and Family Feud. The new version of Family Feud still uses that booth for parts of the show.

An isolation booth is also used in the recording industry as part of a recording studio. A person recording a vocal track, for example, would just listen to the music through earphones and sing the track. The booth is soundproofed so that the recording is not disturbed by sounds from outside. Furthermore, the player is not disturbed or distracted by external sounds, reducing the overall recording time.

Sometimes the penalty box used in hockey is called an isolation booth, although it doesn’t have to be soundproofed. Hugh Hood, a respected Canadian writer who has written several non-fiction works on hockey, titles his third short story collection The Isolation Booth. Additionally, the Cincinnati Enquirer has a regular sports column, mostly written by Mark Curnutte called “The Isolation Booth.”

Sports commentators at major sporting events also occasionally use a somewhat soundproofed booth to observe and report on a game without letting in a significant amount of crowd noise. You will often see sports reporters like John Madden broadcasting from a booth high up in a stadium. These cabins tend not to be fully soundproofed, so they are not theoretically isolation cabins.

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