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Canadian sports channel boosts look with virtual sets

To achieve a grandness of size and perception of depth, The Score decided it needed to work with virtual set technology.

The Score, Canada’s “Home for the Hardcore” sports cable channel, recently acquired and implemented FOR-A’s digiWarp-EX II virtual studio system to boost its on-air look.

All of The Score’s 24-hour sports news and information programming is enhanced with digiWarp-EX II. The Score’s sports content is heavily graphic influenced, designed for an 18- to 34-year-old male demographic.

Prior to its acquisition of the digiWarp-EX II system, The Score broadcast its programs from a small 20ft x 30ft converted office space. To achieve a grandness of size and perception of depth, The Score decided it needed to work with virtual set technology which would allow it to design multiple studios with a new look for each show, all within one physical space.

Since implementing digiWarp-EX II last fall, The Score has cut costs and time by not building physical sets. digiWarp-EX II’s template-based feature allows The Score to easily drop in as many backgrounds as needed.

Graphics from the virtual set can flow into a ticker system that runs continuously along the bottom of the screen on The Score — an effect not possible with a traditional, physical set.

The Score achieved record ratings for all of its shows last year throughout the NHL strike. In an episode of “To the Point,” The Score’s news interview program, a host questioned two hockey analysts about the return of the NHL season. It was a three-camera shoot completed in 30 minutes with one camera focused on the host, and the others on the analysts. It appeared as if the two interviewees were in separate locations, when they were both in the studio the whole time.

With digiWarp-EX II, artists can create complex scenery composed of object layers with a live blue screen image. This expands the limits for depth-of-field production in 3-D space beyond what was possible with a single background layer. The priorities between the blue screen talent and each background layer can be swapped instantly during a live production, increasing the director's creative possibilities.

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