Vizrt Unveils Out-of-the-Box Website-Design Software With Viz Sports Online

In an effort to create a single, all-in-one toolbox that allows sports broadcasters, leagues, and teams to build their own video-centric Websites, Vizrt has unveiled a software package dubbed Viz Sports Online.

The package incorporates several existing Vizrt creative tools and widgets into a single drag-and-drop interface, allowing sports organizations to construct their own Websites and avoid outsourcing to Web designers. Any Web-services provider can then host these self-designed sites.

“In general, when you’re working with all kinds of content and video, composing a nice Website is a big hassle,” says Eirik Svendsen, EVP, online, for Vizrt. “In terms of video, you work in different systems all over the place, you’re working in many different desktop applications, and that can be aggravating. All of this is now in one application.”

All video, graphics, text, images, maps, statistics, and Web-publishing tools are available on a single drag-and-drop–based desktop. Vizrt-designed templates let users produce dynamic, branded graphics, maps, and Web pages that can be filled on the fly with text, images, headers, and titles.

In addition, the software suite offers a full video repository with video editing, video playlists, picture-in-picture, and video-ad–integration capabilities. Viz Sports Online video tools use the core components from Vizrt video-software suites, combining them all into a single Escenic Content Studio.

“For the online production itself, you will still use the Vizrt tools that you’re used to for editing, adding images, and working with broadcast graphics. But it’s all now under one desktop that is an online studio.”

Nonetheless, users retain the option of manipulating video outside of the Sports Online interface and then inputting it onto the site.

“If you want to do more hard-core video editing, then you go more into the Vizrt applications with more-advanced video-editing features,” Svendsen points out. “But the simplest aspects of those tools are packaged all in Sports Online, so you can work in one environment and focus on the online and mobile side of things.”

The primary video player for Viz Sports Online sites is the Flash Flowplayer. However, users can also publish to devices that do not use Flash, such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad, simultaneously with a single click of the publish button.

“You can do video editing within the content studio,” Svendsen says. “When you press the save button, it goes into a rundown mode, where the video is being transcoded into a number of predesigned formats for all devices.”

The software package supports video for thousands of different handheld devices. Automatic multimedia conversion enables streaming of video in a variety of native mobile formats, including iPad, iPhone, and Android.

“For mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, we use the native video playback in the device itself,” says Svendsen. “You can’t play Flash on the iPad, so we use device detection so that, when you start playing a video on your handheld device, it recognizes what kind of device you have and your video capability.”

Viz Sports Online-created Websites let users contribute their own blogs, comments, and personalized user-profile pages and also participate in discussion forums. Other interactive elements include real-time user-activity updates; RSS- and Twitter-feed integration; and real-time sports statistics provided by Stats.com.

Custom skins give Websites a consistent, branded feel, and the Viz Sports Online widgets library — featuring story pages, image galleries, a video player, animated carousels, menu overlays, tabbed navigation, and statistical listings — allow the designer to manage content, Web-page layouts, and microsites without the need for a technical staff.

According to Svendsen, Vizrt’s ultimate goal with the new software suite is to integrate its three main product lines — graphics, video-asset management, and pure online services — into a single online offering for sports broadcasters.

“Our aim has always been to have those three products totally integrated so that you can leverage all the stuff you do for TV and bring it online,” he says. “This is coming from bringing everything that we’ve done on the online side and combining with a video hub and bringing in graphics. It’s an all-in-one tool.”

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