Fox Sports GO Tracks Drivers in Depth at Daytona 500
Vizrt’s Viz Engine real-time compositing system displays three video feeds per driver channel
Seated in Game Creek Edit 1 in the broadcast compound at Daytona International Speedway, Zac Fields, SVP, graphic technology and integration, Fox Sports, pointed out how the network’s Fox Sports GO app was getting fans in close to the drivers at the Daytona 500.
“What we’re doing is taking backups and compiling them into two digital channels, tracking each driver,” Fields explained. “We have six video sources, three for each driver’s channel, that we’re also able to put graphics over in real time. And we’re doing this from a single Vizrt box.”
Part of Fox Sports’ expanding TV Everywhere programming service, which brings fans close to the track during a race, the three separate video feeds are seamlessly brought together and displayed on screen via a single Viz Engine, Vizrt’s real-time compositing system. To present it all under a single interface, Fox Sports has developed the GO-app controller to synchronize the HD-SDI video and data feeds from the Viz Engine with the live broadcast for the entirety of each race.
Cameras positioned at the garage and pit for each driver automatically engage when the cars enter those zones. “You’re seeing activity that you’d otherwise never see,” he said. “We’re following each driver for the entire race on the app, and you’re getting a lot of additional content, in the form of data.”
The channel supports three separate video windows, all synchronized. A large window displays the program feed (the linear broadcast) in the upper right, and two smaller windows show the in-car video specific to that driver and a video feed of that car racing around the track. Four windows on the left side display various telemetry data from the car, graphically represented with speed dials, lap information, and other data.
Users of the app also received plenty of additional audio, including car and crew-chief communications from wireless supplied by BSI. Audio and video continued uninterrupted during commercial breaks.
Fields stressed that, as good as the second-screen OTT experience was, it was also created efficiently, using a single Viz Engine.
“We’re displaying two driver channels with up to eight video sources, with programmable data and automated video switching all from within a single machine,” he said. “This is technology and content we already have. It’s just a more efficient way to compile it.”