Fox Sports Uses Vizrt Virtual Graphics for Daytona 500

BERGEN, NORWAY—Fox Sports used Vizrt’s broadcast graphics systems for live virtual graphics during the Daytona 500 NASCAR race Feb. 23, 2014, in Daytona, Fla. The Daytona 500 is 500 miles (805 km) long and is the first NASCAR race of the year.

Wind Trax, a virtual wind speed and direction visualization that is rendered in real-time with Viz Engine, Vizrt’s real-time 3D compositing engine, will be debuted at Daytona 500 by Fox Sports.

“Fox’s Wind Trax introduces a new way for the audience to understand how weather forces affect the cars on the track,” said David Jorba, Executive Vice President of Operations, Vizrt Americas.

Wind Trax uses splines imported as .fbx files into Viz Artist. A designer in Viz Artist adds textures and motion effects to the splines that can be changed based upon live data. An NCAM tracking system mounted on a camera in the stadium then sends tracking data to Viz Engine. The tracking data combined with live weather data allows Viz Engine to render a real-time representation of the wind direction virtually on the track.

“In 2012, Fox Sports introduced the interactive NASCAR system which allows a presenter to discuss and analyze every part of a car,” said Jorba. “The same system will be used for the Daytona 500, with even more enhancements.

In addition to Wind Trax, Fox Sports will have more than a dozen Viz Engines in place, as well as five Viz Trio character generator workstations. Augmented reality graphics used in studio and for effects on the track will be powered by Viz Virtual Studio. An interactive screen, giving driver statistics and analysis plus social TV interaction, will be displayed on a Microsoft Perceptive Pixel screen that is powered by Viz Engine.

The week leading up to the race, designers will be preparing graphics in Viz Artist for the touchscreen and Viz Virtual Studio elements. During the pre-race, live-race and post-race, Viz Trio operators will be controlling lower thirds, real-time, data-driven full-screens and overlays. Another operator will be controlling a newly designed “Fox Box,” controlled by Vizrt, giving real-time race details.

Fox Sports has used Vizrt broadcast graphics technology since 2010 for their sports coverage in the studio as well as in the OB van.