BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA—Global News is known for quality coverage and for always trying new things. Recently we wanted to make our storytelling more visual and compelling and began integrating more advanced graphics to enhance the viewer experience.
There are lots of virtual set manufacturers and different solutions, but ours needed to be simple to use and simple to change. We had to be able to actually use it in a virtual sense too, with hardware in one city and performers and news anchors in another. These requirements led us to choose a sophisticated but easy-to-use Avid graphics solution with full virtual reality capabilities.
CREATING A VIRTUALIZED WORLD
We installed the bundled graphics workflow, which includes Avid’s Maestro graphic suite, 4Designer 2D/3D authoring software and ProSet virtual studio in our four main production centers, and used in nine other remote broadcast locations. Camera feeds are brought in via high-speed networking, integrated with the sets and produced in the centers, then sent back to the regions within milliseconds. It’s essentially a very large distributed model. The majority of the news that we produce here at Global News is virtualized through the Avid system.
Global News is utilizing the 4Designer software in its four main production studios and remote broadcast locations.
VR has allowed us to go places we couldn’t go, such as outer space, or to locations we couldn’t get to immediately, like an earthquake in India. It also means that we can tell these stories in highly visual ways.
We use our system every day in every market, for hundreds of hours of news a week. It’s enabled us to not only virtualize the studio but also our production workflow. Most of our stations don’t even have local control rooms.
SPEEDING UP PRODUCTION
Not only do our graphics capabilities allow us to take viewers to new places with amazing realty, but we’ve also gained speed. Set elements can be constructed in a day or even a few hours. Our graphics team designs virtual environments daily for our national newscast. They’ll come up with an idea for a topical piece mid-morning and have it ready by 2 p.m.
We’re also versatile with the way we use the system; pieces can be a minute long or only 30 seconds. We’ll deconstruct these stories and tell them in VR. We’re stretching the way we use the tool.
Whether for science stories or tied into live election data, virtual sets are extraordinarily helpful to explain complex events. How do you explain the downing of an aircraft when you’re not actually on the aircraft? We recreate a high volume of news stories in a very sophisticated way.
When you’re always pushing to keep your brand fresh, it’s considerably easier to redesign a set and publish it than construct it. We’ve been employing greenscreen technology for years. Though adoption of VR in North America is just starting to become commonplace, it’s our new normal.
Gerry Belec is the director of operations and technology for Global News, Corus Entertainment Inc. He may be contacted at Gerry.Belec@corusent.com.
For additional information, please visit www.avid.comor call 818-557-5346.