Pixel Power charts the Scottish decision

Pixel Power provides design services as well as data integration for STV’s coverage of the independence referendum

Scotland’s constitutional referendum on 18 September 2014 ended up too close to call in advance. Charting the results as they came in were specially created graphics from Pixel Power, linked directly to the database and controlled by the presenters using a dedicated tablet app.

All eyes were on the overnight coverage produced by STV in Glasgow and available through the UK on the ITV network. The long, live programme depended heavily on graphics, especially as the result was predicted to be very close. To create the visual look for the programme, as well as to implement new functionality, STV called in long-term partner Pixel Power.

STV is already an extensive user of Pixel Power Clarity graphics systems, but for the referendum night coverage the broadcaster installed two more Clarity 3D engines to present the results as they came in. One was dedicated to on-air graphics and lower thirds, while the other primarily fed plasma displays on the set, which were under the direct control of a Windows Surface Pro tablet used by the presenter.

Pixel Power’s Creative Services team worked with STV’s graphics designers to create the templates into which all the information would sit. The team also managed the development of interfaces to the STV database, to the Avid iNews network, and to the Surface, using the Pixel Power Control Toolbox, a software application which speeds the creation of customised connectivity.

“The whole production team was delighted with the graphical output and ease of control of the system developed for the referendum night,” said Sam Dornan, channel operations manager at STV. “The Pixel Power team developed tools that did exactly what we needed, and most important got the critical information onto the screen and to our viewers as quickly as possible.”

James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power, added “When broadcasters have big one-off events like this, they need to be absolutely certain the right results are on-air and can be easily interpreted by their viewers. We make our graphics systems simple to tailor and to integrate with other equipment, and where broadcasters need support we are delighted to be able to provide experienced designers and developers to create specific solutions.

“It is impossible to understate how big this broadcast was for STV, as Scotland decided on its future as a nation,” Gilbert continued. “It was great that our Creative Services team could be part of it, and we very much look forward to working with STV on further projects in the future.”