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BBC Sport Brings XR to Audiences for Beijing 2022 with Vizrt

Vizrt, the developer of software-defined visual storytelling solutions, is working with BBC Sport to deliver a cutting-edge virtual set graphics ecosystem in Salford to cover the Beijing Winter Games.

BBC Sport’s innovative, integrated system will bring sports fans unprecedented access to the sports action happening in China this February. By utilising Vizrt’s Viz Engine 4 coupled with Unreal Engine 4 render pipeline and Vizrt’s Fusion Keyer, all driven by Vizrt’s virtual set controller, BBC Sport creates a seamless studio environment with easy operator control.

One of the challenges the BBC needed to solve with this hybrid Unreal 4- Viz Engine 4 studio was enabling an operator-friendly workflow and streamlining content changes to provide viewers with meaningful information throughout broadcasts. 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.

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.

“Prior to the summer, we converted a small studio space at Media City into a green screen area with a virtual design (by Jim Mann and Toby Kalitowski) 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,” states John Murphy, Creative Director and Head of Graphics for Sport at the BBC.

“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 honored 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,” remarks Gerhard Lang, CTO for Vizrt.

“It is 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 visualstory-telling for sports fans with the additions to our studios and broadcasts utilizing innovative technology,” concludes BBC’s Murphy.


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