This year's World Cup was one of the most exciting to watch in a generation. Beyond the games, global media companies embraced the use of AR in a way that shows the maturity of the technology as a tool that helps explain the intricacies of the game while entertaining the audience. For media companies, it was not a question of if they would use AR in their pre- and post-game shows, it's how they would use it. This blog showcases some of the ways Vizrt technology was used around the world by a wide variety of customers. Please enjoy!
Austrian national broadcaster ORF based their World Cup coverage out of their studio in Austria. The studio's large floor space was ideal for adding Viz Engine rendered AR elements tied to the floor such as player lineups. They also added a touchscreen to the studio so that presenters could give detailed and interactive analysis of game play using Viz Libero.
IPBC (Israeli Public TV) used AR in their Tel Aviv studio to present data from the World Cup including groups, standings, results, social media, tactics and more. Segev Sport provided IPBC the solution based on a 4K Viz Engine, Trackmen tracking system and Segev Sport's NewsArts control system.
The World Cup wraps up today with France and Croatia in the final and Al Jazeera is a taking a look at the strengths of both teams using a combination of AR tools in the studio. With a high degree of flexibility using lighting and a massive video wall, plus a wide open floorspace, Al Jazeera uses this studio to do most of their AR storytelling. For the World Cup, Viz Engine is rendering graphics in the video wall to add a sports theme, but the real work was being done by three more Viz Engines powering the interactive screen and AR graphics.
To analyze formations, Al Jazeera has placed a touchscreen in a stylized news desk displaying graphics rendered by a Viz Engine. The graphics give the presenter a representation of each player plus a menu to trigger different events. The touchscreen acts as a control interface for AR graphics overlaying the screen itself, and AR graphics occupying the studio floor in front of the presenters. Both rendered by individual Viz Engines. The end result is an easy-to-use system for the presenters that takes advantage of the large studio space to provide a graphics and presenter-driven analysis presentation.
Al Jazeera also took at look at the massive efforts in Russia to build the infrastructure of World Cup and how the games compared to those in Rio. This was done through the use of large AR graphics in a football stadium to add a sense of scale to the preparations for the games.
Al Jazeera's home country of Qatar will host the next World Cup in 2022.
While Mexico's Televisa is covering the World Cup on their main channel, their sports cable channel, TDN (Televisa Deportes Networks), is covering the games with around the clock analysis. The World Cup studio features multiple video walls throughout the studio displaying content rendered by Viz Engine, along with Russia-themed set pieces. TDN makes heavy use of augmented reality graphics, powered by Viz Virtual Studio and Viz Engine with tracking from stYpe, to punctuate each story. They've also been able to monetize the use of AR graphics adding sponsorships during certain segments.
Read the full case study for more information.
TV 2 Norway has brought a suite of tools from Vizrt to it's coverage of the World Cup. A temporary studio built in Kontraskjæret park (say that ten times) in Oslo provides the home base for their pre- and post-match analysis. The studio offers the flexibility of having an indoor set with a backdrop of Oslo World Cup fans watching the games on a big screen, while a minimal outdoor set provides a backdrop of Oslo Fjord and the famous Aker Brygge. Exterior shots of the studio include an AR video board rendered with Viz Engine which gives score updates and video highlights. A swooping crane shot takes viewers past the AR graphics to fans in the park surrounding the studio.
At the half and post-game, TV 2's presenters use Viz Libero to analyze key moments of the game. The tool is used extensively by TV 2 for the World Cup and will next be used for their Tour de France coverage.
TV 2 has reporters in Russia and at major cites across Europe to gather reaction from local fans during the games. To show the breadth of their coverage, they use four video inputs into Viz Engine and animate the lives shots together for a unique graphics-drive DVE effect.
The follow is an excerpt of the original article from NewscastStudio
With an eye towards the significance and scale of the event, Telemundo’s World Cup presentation features a combination of cultural and modern design cues.
Along with its sleek set design, the network’s motion graphics help capture the story and set the scene.
Creating the system was the task of Big Block, a Los Angeles creative studio, alongside the Telemundo Deportes creative services team.
Big Block first worked in Maxon’s Cinema 4D to develop the package elements, which were then transferred to Vizrt for implementation in a real-time workflow.
The final toolkit delivered to Telemundo included multiple variations and options including a custom map system with integrated team logos in landscape of the team’s geographic location.
“You certainly take a little bit more time and really vet out your thoughts and solutions when something is going to be on the world stage,” said Doss. “There’s definitely a little bit of an excitement that comes along with something like this, especially when we have a lot of artists that are very into the sport, so, knowing that it’s going to be the world stage and it’s going to air one time and next time that this comes around it’s probably going to look different, you put your best foot forward.”
To help tell the story musically in the opening and throughout the tournament, Telemundo worked with Yoav Goren of Immediate Music, a well-known trailer music company, to compose a custom theme song, known as “Sueño De Campeones.”
“The music became a large component of the experience,” said Velazquez. “Our track captured cultural elements in its acoustic instrumentation but also had a very grand and timeless build with the orchestration of key moments throughout the theme that captured the triumphant journey of the teams that qualified and made it to biggest soccer stage – the World Cup.”
Read the original article from NewscastStudio
Traditional broadcasters weren't the only residents of Red Square in Moscow. Tencent, a Chinese telecom and technology conglomerate that owns popular services such as WeChat and QQ.com, built a massive virtual set to bring the World Cup analysis to Chinese fans through their online platforms. The company brought in design firm Girraphic to design the virtual set in Red Square and also redesign their physical studio back in Beijing.
“Girraphic recently undertook a massive effort to brand Tencent’s coverage of the 2018 Russia World Cup," said Nate Marsh, Managing Director for Girraphic. "This project oversaw the construction of a 4 camera virtual set in Moscow as well as the re-skin of the Tencent Sports main studio in Beijing. A team of over 25 Girraphic staff worked for over 5 months to facilitate the workload and we are very proud of the results. As always it was easy with a client like Tencent who pushes the creative envelope at every turn and drives Girraphic to be at our very best!”
While Tencent does not have rights to broadcast the games, they use the power of great graphics and knowledgable presenters to create engaging programming for China's Football fans. Through use of the virtual set, AR graphics such as virtual stadiums and player stats, interactive screens to analyze the games, and social media interaction, Tencent is making their presence known as the place to go to get the best analysis after each match.
Viz Engine was used to render Tencent's virtual set, AR graphics and all of the fullscreen elements used on air. Tracking on two of the cameras was provided by the Croatian company stYpe (big congrats to Croatia on their win last night) and their Stype Kit mounted on camera cranes. The stYpe tracking systems send tracking data to Viz Virtual Studio which processes the data and applies it to virtual cameras in Viz Engine for final rendering in real-time.
Tencent is an online company but their productions still require professional broadcast tools. The hybrid of the online and broadcast world creates challenges for the design such as; How do you design AR graphics so they are easily understood on a small phone screen? Keeping the production similar to broadcast gives Tencent the flexibility of finding a staff that already knows the systems, while working with partners like Girraphic and Vizrt provides the tools needed to design and output a final product that is enjoyable to viewers on any platform.
Tencent has exclusive rights to the NBA in China and the lessons learned from those productions are certainly being used for the World Cup.
Indonesia's MetroTV are analyzing key World Cup moments using an AR football pitch on the studio floor. The presenters use a touch interface that, with the help of an overhead camera, allows them to highlight formations and interact with stats. The touch interface also controls AR players on the football pitch that "run" as the presenters move them around.
A Viz Engine is rendering the graphics for the touchscreen, while another renders the AR elements. A suite of plugins in the scenes tie the touchscreen to the AR graphics adding interactivity. The final effect gives the studio a lot of depth while informing audiences with the graphics. We also love the rockin' soundtrack!
The Telegraph has posted an article (read it here) with World Cup viewership in China. This year's games have been averaging 815m viewers! That is massive viewership by any standard. China has 1.4 billion people so, almost 60% of the nation is engaged with the World Cup. This is also impressive considering China failed to reach this year's World Cup.
This will have a big impact on the future of the sport in China as well as the impact on advertising. From the Telegraph: Chinese companies’ sponsorship makes up a third of the event’s total advertising revenue and their spending has climbed to $835m (£628m). The US, the second largest advertising spender for the tournament, lags far behind, putting in just $400m.
Sourced from Egripment
German broadcaster ARD and ZDF added AR graphics to their World Cup studio with the help of Egripment's Xtreme T10 Encoded Telescopic crane. Support for the system was provided by deltatre. Egripment's mechanical tracking system ensures that all obtained data from the crane, as well as the lens information and deformation data is delivered in a simple data stream for deltatre running the latest Viz Virtual Studio with Tracking Hub.
So, what is mechanical tracking? Mechanical Camera Tracking Systems consist of specialized hardware, typically a camera tracking head and a lens encoder, (in the case of ARD and ZDF, the Egripment Xtreme T10) that can be installed on cameras and on pedestals, in the studio or in the field. These mechanical tracking systems work in tandem with a compositing server for each camera (which is controlled through the video production switcher in the control room or OB van). Mechanical tracking systems offer the best accuracy and can cope with any camera movement as long as the camera is put on a tripod, a crane or rails. You can learn more about the different tracking systems available today in our virtual set documentary series.
CNN Indonesia is known for using a lot AR graphics to enhance their day to day news production. For the World Cup, their experienced team took an extra step and added a touch screen to the studio so the on-air presenters could drive the narrative. The touchscreen allows the presenters to analyze plays with telestration, and integrated AR control allows them to trigger stats and player infographics as AR elements tied to the screen.
The behind-the-scenes video (in Indonesian) shows how the design team, technical team and editorial teams came together to create the unique on-air presentation.
We'll have a subtitled version available soon.
The following is an excerpt of the original article written by SVG.
Mexican football fans may have been disappointed with the way their team played when it was knocked out of the World Cup by Brazil on Tuesday, but they can’t be disappointed with Televisa’s coverage of the tournament. The channel is not only sharing rights with TV Azteca to make coverage available to more viewers but is also delivering a daily show on Facebook Live. From the largest studio in the IBC, it is offering plenty of different looks, thanks to programmable displays and the use of augmented reality.
Televisa’s IBC presence includes two control rooms with video feeds sent to and from Mexico via NewTek’s NDI (Network Device Interface). The augmented-reality capabilities rely on Vizrt graphics, WASP 3D technology, and Stype AR camera kits for tracking. Galindo says the reaction from viewers has been positive.
Read the full article from SVG.
The following is an excerpt of the original article published by SVG.
One of the centerpieces of Fox Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the network’s studio at Red Square, a facility that was a long time coming and has undergone some revisions since the early days of planning. And, as the tournament heads into its final seven matches, it is clear that the studio, with its backdrop of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral, has given the network and its studio production team and talent just what they need.
AR is a big element in the studio. Stype’s Red Spy camera tracking system can begin tracking within 20 seconds of being turned on and requires no calibration. It emits infrared light, which is reflected to the system by reflective markers installed around the studio. A Vizrt graphics system inserts the AR elements.
“It has worked out really nicely,” says Rod Conti, VP, World Cup operations, Fox Sports, “and we’re happy with it.”
He expects that AR will continue to play a large role in studio operations: for example, helping a smaller studio look bigger, especially when tied to a green-screen element.
But, for all of the benefits AR offers, nothing can outdo being onsite and in the open air. “It feels more live and has a presence,” Conti notes, “We are doing as much as we can to bring the outside in.”
Read the full article from SVG.
Match of the Day’s live studio in Moscow presents the most dynamic and ambitious virtual effects to date.
Augmented reality in Red Square
Match of the Day Live’s Red Square studio features augmented reality (AR) graphics to help pundits and hosts tell the story of each match with stats, team news, and a few surprises along the way. This is all set up with an impressive view of St. Basil’s Cathedral in the background.
In the following clip you can see the players walking into the studio as they are introduced by the presenters.
The aim is to let the viewer feel that they are being taken directly from Red Square into the live stadium action with a 180-degree camera move.
Croatian tracking specialists, stYpe are providing tracking for six cameras in the studio while the UK’s Alston Elliott (AE) were challenged to design and are operate AR graphics to compliment the broadcaster’s teams. Vizrt’s Viz Engine is the workhorse behind all of the graphics rendering, including AR in the studio and virtual set extensions to hide the massive amounts of production systems in the Red Square studio.
In the clip below the presenters analyze the game, and the top goal scorers by bringing them into the shot, or walking them in front. Bringing the players into the studio makes for a fantastic, immersive experience.
China's CCTV is an expert in using Viz Libero to help analyze key plays, creating more than 600 clips since the start of the World Cup. Using Virtual Presenter, CCTV is taking their analysis a step further by placing the presenter in the analysis clip.
In the first lip you can see the use of Viz Libero with the addition of the presenter added to the clip. The virtual angles allows the presenter to talk about specific plays. At 1:30 they add in a little extra magic with the football from the clip becoming a football in the studio for the presenter. Then the presenter shows the mastery CCTV has gained with Viz Libero by walking completely around the keeper.
This next clip again places the presenter in the middle of the action, this time analyzing a free kick. Using the analysis tools in Viz Libero, he is able to measure distances, hight and angles–and even add in a virtual Yao Ming!
Images and video from gol.hr.
Croatia's national team defeated Denmark last night with a final penalty kick that ensured Croatia moves on past the group stage. Croatia's NovaTV analyzed that game and other key games of the tournament with an interactive AR table powered by Vizrt graphics tools.
Presenters Milan Stjelja and Jerko Leko use the table as a physical component to interact with each player position, while the AR versions of the players are displayed on the table top. The design team at NovaTV, including Ivan Vidak, developed the script to combine the touch screen with the AR in Viz Artist without the need of additional third-party plugins.
Two Viz Engines are used to render the final product. One for the touch table, and one Viz Engine for the AR. Viz Virtual Studio is used to tie together the Viz Engine with the tracking data coming from Croatia-based stYpe and their RedSpy optical tracking system.
You can read more about the tool here (in Croatian).
The following is an excerpt of the blog post from SVG.
The largest linear-television production in the history of the company is truly testing the limits of the entire company, and that means a level of social output unlike anything the network has done before. That means content across all the major social-media platforms: Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.
World Cup Now, Fox Sports’ Twitter-exclusive show has proved to be a winner and is only picking up steam as the tournament rolls into the Knockout Stages. The nightly, half-hour program has racked up 4.8 million views (as of July 1) and logged its second-best day over the weekend with 381,000 views. Also, “90 In 90,” — a 90-second recap of each match, which is a segment of the A block of World Cup Now — has picked up more than 56 million views across numerous social platforms (as of July 1).
Fox Sports’ Snapchat efforts have also been fruitful, the stories pulling in more than 20 million unique viewers in the U.S. (as of July 1), 70% of which are users under the age of 25. Two Snapchat staffers are onsite, mostly roaming throughout Moscow acquiring content, but they have dedicated office space in Fox Sports’ portion of the IBC.
Read the full article from SVG.
While Mexican fans are cheering on their team, Televisa has upped their analysis game with Viz Libero AR in their Moscow studio. The AR analysis tool was first demonstrated at NAB and officially released 30th May. Televisa is now making it part of their regular World Cup analysis, putting the game play in the studio with the presenter.
Tracking in Televisa's World Cup studio is accomplished with one Shotoku VR crane, one Shotoku VR pedestal, and one Ncam mounted camera for hand-held movement. The tracking systems send data to Viz Virtual Studio and the final graphics are rendered with Viz Engine.
Televisa is also using Vizrt's newsroom workflow where journalists use Viz Pilot to build a playlist of graphics, while operators trigger the graphics on air with Viz Trio. Multiple Viz Artist workstations are employed to design custom graphics for the analysis shows.
We first saw Al Arabiya's World Cup studio at Vizrt Days and now they've provided a look behind the scenes and on-air of their custom-built studio. The studio takes a hybrid approach with a physical set and a greenscreen stage. Al Arabiya also makes use of AR graphics using Viz Virtual Studio for showing stadium models, player lineups, team match ups, and more. The Dubai-based broadcaster uses the studio to provide game analysis and the latest news from the event.
Al Arabiya's studio uses tracking from stYpe's RedSpy and stYpekit on a crane. The AR and virtual set graphics a rendered with five Viz Engines.
Michael P. Hill
The following is an excerpt from the original article by NewscastStudio.
Like many of its broadcast rights counterparts, the BBC is using Red Square as a background for its World Cup coverage but is, quite literally, augmenting that space with virtual and augmented reality. The network’s main broadcast booth features a curved, illuminated portal that showcases the view of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin.
On the flip view of the studio, the BBC used Vizrt technology to add an augmented reality fourth “window” wall from Jim Mann at Lightwell, featuring a virtual space with a curved portal that could be fed with a blend of scenic imagery and player and game stats created by Alston Elliot.
The position of the virtual extension, along with high reverse shots, allow the in-studio commentators to appear to be reviewing and discussing the information being shared with viewers.
These augmented and virtual shots are powered by Stype’s RedSpy camera tracking system, which allows the network to blend sweeping shots with the 3D space seamlessly, creating a fully immersive 360-degree environment.
As an added bonus, the faux window wall covers the space normally occupied by cameras, lighting, equipment and crew, giving the broadcast booth the feel of a self-contained “capsule” with an interactive element.
Designers from Denmark's DR attended Vizrt Days this week and shared with us how they are coving the World Cup from a custom studio in Aarhus, Denmark. The studio has a minimalist Scandinavia design that features AR graphics above a wooden table. The AR graphics give match information, stats and player details. AR graphics are added to the roof of the studio for exterior shots.
The design strategy centered on adapting the official World Cup graphics package to AR by adding depth to each element. For the final on-air presentation, DR used three Viz Engines. One was used for the exterior shots, paired with a stYpe tracking system on a 6-meter job. Another Viz Engine was used for the interior shots with tracking from a stYpe RedSpy on a wireless Steadycam. The third Viz Engine rendered the Public Screen Announcement on the football field in the background of the studio.
The following is an excerpt of the article published by NewscastStudio.
Sharing coverage rights with the BBC and broadcasting from a studio next door in Moscow’s Red Square, ITV’s studio mixes baroque-influenced design, gold elements and a variety of fake paintings.
In ITV’s case, this additional space is used to create an augmented reality extension and window to showcase the rest of the cathedral, which normally would have been cut off in the field of view.
“We’ve created a virtual ceiling – the whole of the ‘cathedral’ section doesn’t exist,” said Paul McNamara, Senior Director and Executive Producer of ITV Sport’s World Cup coverage in an interview. Two cameras outside the studio “‘perspective track’ onto the live shot you are seeing through the bottom half of the window, so the bottom half is live.”
This prospective tracking allows the real and virtual to move together, creating a seamless image for viewers at home.
The window behind the presenters can also be easily replaced by a tracking LED screen, allowing the studio to transform into a skybox with a soccer pitch behind.
Read the full article on NewscastStudio.
in his LinkedIn post, Broadcast Engineering Consultant Nicos Christodoulou talks about the challenges of building ITV's Red Square studio and the implementation of AR for large parts of the presentation. Read his post here.
The actual AR system was supplied by DeltaTre, providing the 4 x Vizrt servers and tracking/graphics and White Light knitting the feeds together via D3 into their 2mm pitch LED screens.
The set itself was complex and had to be built to millimetre accuracy on site to tie in with the AR set (Dome) and tracking system (Red Spy).
Image copyright NC St. Basils Moscow
The heart of the ORF World Cup coverage is the ORF football studio, which will present itself with a world-class production for the World Cup. There are four cameras in the studio, one of which is a crane camera that can be used to display virtual elements (augmented reality) such as tables, statistics, lineups, portraits of players, game combinations, etc. in the studio. Directed by Werner Mitterer, Peter Homola, Michael Kögler and Harald Ruzicka.
Numerous state-of-the-art tools are available for the analysis, such as Viz Libero. This tool combines images of the live cameras of the World Cup games with 3-D real-time graphics animation. This makes it possible to create an additional virtual camera view, which allows a new perspective for each situation. With the 3-D animation not only actual game situations can be analyzed, but also possible alternatives can be replayed.
ORF referee expert Thomas Steiner will also have one or two controversial decisions that can be clearly presented using the new ORF analysis tool.
Read the full article from ORF.
The decidedly not high-tech (and not Vizrt) World Cup trailer created by the team at BBC is a beautiful example of creativity and design. We are huge fans of the work they have done so enjoy this making of video!
Football fans in Vietnam are getting expert analysis from the team at Vietnam Cable Television Corporation (VTVcab). The broadcaster uses a combination of video wall, virtual set and AR graphics to give insight into each match. The production is controlled using the Viz Opus compact control room, which features automation, graphics, and video controls all in a single system. VTVcab originally went on air with Vizrt solutions in December 2017.
ITV took an early lead in their big World Cup battle with the BBC thanks to their spectacular studio in Red Square.
Coverage of the opening ceremony and the tournament’s first game between Russia and Saudi Arabia scored a big hit thanks to a deluxe backdrop overlooking St Basil’s Cathedral.
Virtual windows, which transform into a widescreen view of the stadium were also spectacular, as were some psychedelic graphics.
But ITV got a red card by some fans watching their streaming service who reportedly missed the first 40 seconds as adverts were still being screened.
The following is an excerpt of the article published by SVG.
The crown jewel of Fox Sports’ production efforts at this World Cup is its ambitious 27- x 35-ft. studio set erected in Moscow’s Red Square.
The set features eight Sony HDC-4300 cameras, including four robotic cameras that can move around flexibly to capture four host positions on the set. There’s also an automated jib, provided by Studio Bot, that can swing on a 240-degree range.
Also, as announced by Sony at the NAB 2018, Fox has built its structure around a massive, cutting-edge Crystal LED display screen. It’s a 1.26-mm LED surface that offers 180-degree viewing angles and provides another eye-popping backdrop for producers to use in addition to the natural views of St. Basil’s Cathedral.
The set also features a fully interactive touchscreen, which uses graphics technology from Vizrt and advanced data and analytics from deltatre and Astuce Media to create the surface. Fox can throw everything on it, from traditional video highlights to positional heat maps, show charts, and more to break down match action.
The Red Square studio will have plenty of augmented-reality elements, too. Fox is working with Vizrt on those systems as well.
TV 2 Denmark premiered a new World Cup studio featuring virtual set graphics and AR graphics for game analysis. One of the key new analysis elements is a touchscreen table top developed by Promotheus and driven by Viz Engine. The table allows sports commentators to illustrate key plays and player formations with 3D football players added in AR on the table top.
The following is an excerpt of the original article by The Mirror.
This is the first look at where the BBC will be based for the World Cup – with an ultra-modern studio which hides away cameramen, equipment and wiring using innovative virtual reality technology.
Their main base features an incredible view of St Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin in Moscow’s iconic Red Square.
And it uses augmented reality to allow graphics and moving visuals to be used in front of the pundits and hosts like main anchor Gary Lineker.
It is also the first time Virtual Reality has ever been used by Match of the Day at a major tournament.
The studio also allows them to incorporate team news and match stats onto the TV screens and “transport” talent to appear to be at the stadiums during games.
Read the full article from the Mirror.
Viz Libero 6.7 has just been released with a suite of new tools for broadcasters covering the World Cup. Most notably is the new Viz Libero AR feature which combines the analysis power of Viz Libero with augmented reality (AR) graphics, creating a new way for sports presenters to tell the story of the action on the field and engage sports fans.
Viz Libero 6.7 includes Deltatre’s official data plug-in for the World Cup. The plugin retrieves and displays live player tracking data, event logs, statistics, or heatmaps. Using the plugin allows much quicker turnaround time to edit analysis clips. Users can browse through the game logs to directly find a moment of interest. Live player tracking data is available to highlight any player on the field and retrieve specific player information. The plugin from Deltatre also includes new statistics and heat maps for each player and each team. Deltatre is also providing a dedicated Viz Libero graphics package for the World Cup matching the official FIFA graphics design.