The start of a new era

For Executive Vice President and Creative Director at FOX Sports, Gary Hartley, the move to the new facility is just another example of FOX’s innate ability to combine storytelling with unique visuals. “When the sports division started, it was run by a guy named David Hill and his approach was innovative,” Hartley explains. “He would always question things. He’d ask ‘why don’t I know what the score is?’ and get broadcast graphics to help add it to the screen. Back then, our mission statement was ‘same game, new attitude.’ That has been the underlying ethos at FOX Sports for almost 30 years: To not only show the game, but push the envelope of what a sports broadcast can be.”This ethos was evident in 2019, when FOX Sports became one of the first broadcasters to make significant inroads into game graphics after seeing Unreal Engine technology demonstrated at NAB. The resulting virtual NASCAR set in Charlotte, NC gave the team the perfect opportunity to experiment with real-time technology. The only problem? The studio was constructed with green screens rather than LEDs. That meant issues with green spill and no way for talent to see or interact with the visuals on set. 

“Before long, we noticed there had been a lot of noise made around LEDs and XR,” remembers Senior Vice President of Graphic Technology and Integration at FOX Sports, Zac Fields. “We knew people were using LEDs in the film and episodic world, but no one was doing it live yet. We saw a couple of early demos and knew we had to try this new technology out. By using LEDs, our team could easily bring talent to any environment and get photoreal lighting effects on set, without having to worry about keying a green screen or pre-rendering complex elements like player graphics ahead of time.”

Source: Unreal Engine Blog

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