This week I have been in the picturesque city of Bergen, Norway for the Vizrt Days event. The event holds over 40 sessions including keynote speeches, seminars and workshops covering a range of topics from the world of broadcast.
With Vizrt’s range of products there were a wide range of different themes discussed but there was still a strong focus on broadcast graphics technologies.
The takeaway message for me from the two days of talks was the continual growth in importance of graphics and data within the whole studio environment not just ‘on-screen’.
Viewers are becoming more accustomed to high levels of analysis and statistics and producers are looking for ever more creative ways to get that content into the broadcast.
It is an exciting time for sports production and allows those of us involved in the creation, to really push the boundaries and come up with ever more exciting and dynamic ways to engage the viewers and deliver content.
BBC coverage of UK general elections
The event kicked off with a keynote presentation from the BBC on their coverage of the very recent UK General Elections.
The creative team from the BBC talked us through some of the elements they used to tell the complex story of the general election. They used a number of innovative techniques to produce virtual sets, touchscreens and on-screen graphics with a huge reliance on the data underpinning all of the results.
The way in which they combined traditional production techniques with new innovations to create incredibly complex graphics templates displaying a huge amount of data was fantastic. They even used a series of projectors to project the live results onto the curved frontage of the BBC’s iconic New Broadcasting House in central London.
Of course one thing that you can always guarantee with an election are the use of elaborate virtual sets and this time was no different; from a rendering of the inside of the House of Commons with photorealistic politicians through a virtual ‘inside Big Ben’ showing the latest swing-o-meters.
The theme of using huge data sets to underpin studio coverage was continued throughout the two days of the event.
Sport data integration into on-screen, virtual and augmented reality graphics
deltatre’s presentation on Sports Data Integration into the Studio outlined a case study of how we use many comprehensive data feeds to drive on-screen, virtual and augmented reality graphics within Fox Sports new studio in Singapore.
To add to the technology used in the studio we also provide a range of touchscreen applications for various sports and news headlines.
Being able to surface the key points of a sports event and get that on screen is of paramount importance to the modern day sports presentation show and the ability to do it in new, dynamic and visually stunning ways is crucial to drive the look of the shows.
A.R graphics and SportsCenter studio facilities
CBC from Germany presented their workflow on how they introduced Augmented Reality graphics for RTL’s coverage of the European Qualifiers football.
The challenges they faced getting an encoded crane to the side of the pitch for the AR graphics of the pre-match presentation and then having 60 minutes to get the same crane set up and ready for the post match presentation in the studio just proves what high value broadcasters now put on enhanced graphics techniques.
In another keynote speech, ESPN presented a look at their SportsCenter studio facilities where they have taken less of a virtual approach and gone down the physical route.
Using 127 monitors within their studio they still have the flexibility to dramatically alter the look of the studio through images, video and graphics.
In conjunction with Vizrt they developed the ‘Octoviz’ where they could drive 8 outputs independently from one renderer meaning the control of all 127 monitors could be achieved with a relatively small bank of renderers.