Processing Golf Virtualization

Founded over 20 years ago, Australia-based Virtual Spectator International has been specializing in sports broadcast for the past twelve years. We have developed custom solutions with proprietary technologies that have been used throughout Australia, Europe and the Americas by most of the top tier broadcasters for premier sporting events such as the PGA Tour, Wimbledon, World Rally Championship, Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup, Ashes cricket series, The King Edward VII Gold Cup and The Melbourne Cup.

We specialize in providing cutting-edge broadcasting products that have been tailored specifically to client requirements. These technologies include sports-specific telestrators, character generators, virtual advertising systems, virtual line systems, virtual sets, and virtual reality visualization tools. Our sport management and data capture technologies provide interactive sports data, statistics and graphics to both broadcast television and the Internet.

Our Golf Vision system is a turnkey 3D golf course visualization tool used to help show course contour and shot placement during a televised golf tournament. Meticulous land surveys of each course are undertaken, and life-like 3D landscapes put the viewer where the golfer is.

The shots we can visualize would be impossible from a traditional camera. We can show the viewer some of the difficult shots a player has to make; such as a deep bunker shot where you can’t even see the top of the flag.

Golf Vision and our other systems are built on our proprietary “Fishticker” render engine. Fishticker is Virtual Spectator’s core graphics render technology. It is used in our range of products including bespoke character generators, telestrator and virtual set products.

Fishticker harnesses AMD’s SDI-Link technology via integration with Bluefish444’s SDK for low latency transfer between AMD’s FirePro V7900 SDI GPU and Bluefish444’s Epoch 2K Horizon. The reduced latency between the two devices ensures highly detailed broadcast quality graphics are developed to their full potential and output over HD SDI by Bluefish444. The quality, speed and price offered by this card combination made it an easy choice when we were deciding which hardware we would support.

In the past, we required specialist hardware with a high specialist price-tag to give us the grunt we needed to produce cutting edge products. The Bluefish444/AMD card combination has the power of the high end hardware that we had previously purchased, but at a more reasonable price.

This is a huge advantage. Our broadcast clients find it easier to include our products in their production budgets, now that the hardware component is a lot less expensive.

We have worked with Bluefish444 for more than six years now and like the ease of integration with their SDK. The adoption of AMD’s SDI-Link via the Bluefish444 SDK was almost seamless.

We utilize many features of Bluefish444 hardware such as full duplex for simultaneous capture/playback and multi-channel HD SDI I/O. The addition of onboard hardware scaling is also a great feature. It allows lower bandwidth requirements for windowed video frames as the full frame doesn’t need to be passed to the GPU for scaling.

These features, working in conjunction with AMD’s FirePro V7900 SDI GPU via AMD SDI-Link, have enabled Virtual Spectator to develop more complex accelerated real time graphics for live broadcast as either 2D/3D over HD SDI. This is a significant benefit to broadcasters.

Kieran Rivers is Chief Operating Officer of Virtual Spectator International.