XR specialists Vizrt ally with BBC Sport

Beijing Winter Games to get amplified experience, as Vizrt provides BBC Sport with a cutting-edge virtual set and a unique graphics ecosystem

Vizrt, a global market leader in 3D graphics, studio automation, sports analysis and asset management tools for the media industry, will bring its software-defined visual storytelling solutions (#SDVS) to BBC Sport, enriching their coverage of the Winter Olympics in China this February.

Extended reality (XR) refers to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. The term combines virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality.

Green screen unlike you’ve ever seen before

Using BBC Sport’s studio space at Media city, Norway’s Vizrt will utilise its green screen technology to bring TV producers an unprecedented level of storytelling control. As John Murphy, Creative Director and Head of Graphics for Sport at the BBC, explains:

“Prior to the summer, we converted a small studio space at Media City into a green screen area with a virtual design and enhanced rendering technology to deliver an immersive, enhanced experience for audiences. The studio, with five different presenting positions that can house a variety of sports output, will be a key presentation location for BBC Sport this year, including the Winter Games for which we have added more design and development.”

Powered by Viz Engine 4, Fusion Keyer and coupled with Unreal Engine 4 render pipeline and Vizrt’s Fusion Keyer, all driven by Vizrt’s virtual set controller, BBC Sport can create a seamless studio environment with easy operator control.

BBC and Vizrt partnering across sports

Back in April 2021, BBC Sport launched the all-new Vizrt ecosystem to broadcast some programmes from several key sporting tournaments and productions including, Match of The Day, Euros 2020, and the 2021 Summer and 2022 Winter Games.

Gernhard Lang, CTO for Vizrt, elaborated on the continuing relationship with the UK’s iconic broadcaster, saying: “2022 is not just the year of sport for the industry, but it’s the year of sport for Vizrt. We’re ramping up our offering across sports to support our customers in achieving their production needs; BBC Sport is a great example of that. We were honoured to participate in last year’s celebration of the UEFA Euro 2020 championships and the long-awaited Summer Games, and for us, the BBC sets the standards in sports both in looks and functionality across the market,” he said.

The Viz Engine offers native integration of the Unreal Engine and the Viz Arc control application is the only one on the market where you can seamlessly control aspects of both render pipelines – allowing the producer to focus on the story being told, not the specifics of how the graphics are rendered.

BBC’s Murphy concluded: “It’s a busy year for sport, and with many audiences tuning in from home, it’s essential to the success of the broadcast to provide viewers with dynamic graphics alongside an innovative visual experience which means they are absorbed into the story, despite the distance. Hopefully we can deliver this visual story-telling for sports fans with the additions to our studios and broadcasts utilising innovative technology.”

Vizrt and Technology Magazine

Richard Einstein, the Senior Global Product Manager for Sports at Vizrt, will also be contributing to one of our features on AI usage in sports fan engagement in our March issue.

Look out for his great insights into F1 and AWS and how AI turns data into analysis and an exciting narrative. 

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