Fox Sports is rolling out a new graphics look for tonight’s big game and Zac Fields, Fox Sports, SVP, graphics technology and integration, says it is only one new element that engage viewers in new ways. Along with a new look will be new information. “We want to put an emphasis on data and constant stats,” says Fields. “Viewers will see QB stats updated after every play as well as rusher stats that are updated after every play and then go away before the next one.”
The new graphics package has been months in the making and will also carry over to the XFL which debuts next week.
“It’s a whole new animation package and everything is brand new with an emphasis on color,” says Fields. “It’s a little more bold than the last package.”
Zac Fields in the graphics area in Game Creek’s Encore unit.
Another bold addition will be the use of player illustrations that will replace headshots that would pop up for, say, a touchdown or another key play. An illustrator was hired to create about 15 player illustrations per team.
“The illustrations are for guys who are stars and we wanted to emphasize that,” says Fields. “Some of the players also have multiple illustrations.”
Augmented Reality (AR) will also make an improved presence tonight thanks to work the Fox Sports team has put in creating plugins and software that rides on the Unreal Engine as well as advances from SMT.
“SMT has continued to develop optical-based camera tracking for the SkyCam and now it can link with Unreal and we can pair SMT’s tracking data, which they do really well, with a high-performance render engine. We did some tests in New Orleans and it was really promising.”
AR will be tied to the lower SkyCam as well as a robotic camera on the goal post.
“We will do a ton of AR in the pregame and we are also going to do some cool things with the title card as well as throughout the game,” says Fields.
Fields says that other events that make use of SMT’s optical tracking, like NASCAR and MLB will also benefit from the SMT marriage to an Unreal Engine.
“Camera calibration has always been the thing that stops you, so with this we will have new ways to tell stories,” says Fields. “The challenge for us is to continue develop it.”