Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Reality Check, Viz|Engine take DIRECTV into pay-per-view winners circle
Last NASCAR season, DIRECTV and digital media studio Reality Check Studios gave fans unprecedented access to the race experience through a pay-per-view service called HotPass.
HotPass combined traditional network race action coverage with five additional channels that focused on specific drivers. A combination of software developed by Hollywood, CA-based Reality Check Studios and Vizrt’s Viz|Engine rendering engine made HotPass possible.
HotPass capitalizes on the nature of NASCAR fan loyalty. The multichannel, pay-per-view offering gives subscribers access to five individual driver channels throughout the race. If a popular driver happens to be racing below a certain position, viewers won’t see him or hear about him during a typical broadcast. With HotPass, viewers can follow him through every lap, every pit stop and even hear conversations with his crew chief.
While the Reality Check software orchestrates the production, the Viz|Engine renderer is a key component. With a single stroke, the Viz|Engine allows Reality Check to change graphics, backgrounds, sponsor wipes, transitions and lower-thirds.
Each HotPass channel has five cameras covering a specific car and driver. Each channel must have a unique look corresponding to car colors, team sponsors and driver headshots. Because DIRECTV is contractually obligated to include the host broadcaster’s feed of the race throughout, at least a two-box format is in effect at all times. Viz|Engine provides the background and the layouts for that two- or three-box configuration. Viz|Engine also processes scoring tickers, telemetry of remote data collection to show a specific car’s MPH and RPM, track maps, wipes and transitions.
The next season of NASCAR begins Feb. 17, 2008; this year, HotPass will be available in HDTV.
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