|Date: 1st December 2022|
|Technology: Data Visualization, Motion Graphics, Multi-display, Realtime, Ventuz installation|
Realtime Thrills: Rayd and Rawmotion bring the action and drama of freestyle sports to life for broadcast audiences.
Pioneering creative collaborators for 15 years, Rayd and Rawmotion have transformed broadcast coverage of freestyle sports events. Using Ventuz to seamlessly integrate live event data with broadcast graphics, they tell the real-time stories that keep fans tuned into the action.
– by Helena Swahn
From freestyle snowboarding, freeskiing, skateboarding, mountain biking and BMX, to watersports and motorsports, Rayd (https://rayd.de) and Rawmotion (https://www.rawmotion.com) have made their mark on an industry that thrives on complex live data sets in concert with storytelling.
Early adopters of realtime (RT) technology, the two companies trace their roots to the 1990s broadcast sector.
Oliver Grimm, Rayd’s founder and managing director, recalls working with emerging realtime software solutions in the 90s. It was during his time at Stereolize in Munich that he developed expertise in crafting realtime graphics for virtual productions using VizRT. With that experience, Grimm moved on to spend the next four years in Germany’s developing broadcast sector. From creating realtime sports, news and financial graphics at N24, he switched tracks to join Premiere (now Sky Sports), where he developed on-air graphics for the FIFA 2002 World Cup, including live scoring, results, and titles. In 2003, Grimm returned to Stereolize and started working with the alpha version of Ventuz, creating sophisticated realtime graphics for exhibitions and events.
Realising the potential of Ventuz and wanting to forge his own path and approach, Grimm founded Rayd in 2005 and began developing the business across corporate events, exhibitions and broadcast graphics. Today, Ventuz continues to be Grimm’s preferred realtime platform, supporting the team’s creative solutions for complex live broadcasts, as exemplified by the Digital Emmy-nominated show “Web vs. Promi” for KiKA Channel. The company’s events, interactive, augmented and virtual reality solutions are equally strong and with clients including Audi, Volkswagen, Rawmotion and Rohde & Schwarz, Rayd is one of Germany’s leading creative content and realtime solutions providers.
Founder & Managing Director, Rayd
An extreme partnership
Rayd’s collaboration with Rawmotion began in 2007 when founder Alexander Dörr approached the team with the challenge to create realtime graphics for freestyle winter sports.
Having founded Rawmotion the previous year, Dörr’s path to live sports broadcasting began in the late 1990’s. Responsible for the IT systems that managed event data and rankings for the International Sports Federation, he developed a deep understanding of the data flows necessary for effective event management and broadcast coverage. Working with international event organisers, he saw an opportunity.
“I realised that there were no professional fully integrated end-to-end data management workflows for the freestyle sports vertical”,
he explains. With a vision to fill the gap in the market, Dörr collaborated with a software developer and in 2000 launched a pioneering real-time solution that tracked and managed every key data point, from athlete inscription and results management to broadcast graphics. Successfully applying it to winter action sports events, including snowboarding, freeskiing and freeriding events, Dörr quickly realised the need for greater flexibility, more options and functionality to fulfil client requirements and his own vision for storytelling with broadcast graphics.
Looking for alternative graphic layout systems that could handle the complex demands of visualising live data sets for the unique challenges of freestyle action sports coverage, Rayd’s graphic and motion design expertise came highly recommended. The success of the first collaboration, in which Rayd used Ventuz to integrate realtime data sets with on-air graphic packages for the Air+Style (https://airandstyle.com) snowboarding event in Innsbruck, led to a solid creative partnership that continues today.
Founder and CEO, Rawmotion
It is the seamless integration of live data with graphics that Dörr feels supports the broadcast success of these events. “We believe in what we call advanced storytelling, which means using data to explain what’s happening and to capture the audience’s attention”, he explains. To do this, his team analyse the sport, the competition format and the rules and identify the driving factors. They also look at how the sport is produced, where the camera angles are and in collaboration with event organisers and Rayd discuss ways to visualise the action and performance.
To appreciate the elegance of data-driven storytelling, Dörr explains the value of context in action sports. “In freestyle events in which athletes compete individually, they are judged on a range of criteria relating to skill, performance, and speed. Live data graphics show scores at specific tricks or stages throughout an event, helping the audience at home understand judging criteria and develop an appreciation for the performance”.
Graphics also enhance an audience’s understanding of the challenges and complexity of a course or track. From maps, line tracking to terrain mapping and real-time tracking, 2D and 3D graphics provide helpful explainers that keep viewers engaged. To achieve this, Rayd uses the real-time features and functionalities of Ventuz to integrate athlete biometrics, live tracking, terrain, and score data from Rawmotion’s data management solutions into dynamic, appealing graphics.
Expanding into motorsports, specifically rally and rallycross events, has proved equally successful and the catalyst for developing innovative visualisations that support dramatic storytelling. Using the World Rally Championships (https://www.wrc.com) as an example, Grimm explains that information needs to be displayed to help viewers understand the race, vehicle and driver performance, and graphic elements help tell these stories. “Rawmotion receives live data from the event organisers about a vehicle, including RPM, speed, gear selection, tire telemetry, and even battery capacity if it’s an electric car. Using Ventuz, we pick that up from their control interface and integrate it into our graphic solutions. This means that we can frame camera output with graphic elements that tell the story about an individual run, using competitor information, map visuals overlaid with real-time tracking, telemetry data, speed, and leaderboard placement.
“To provide the viewer at home with a good idea about each track and its characteristics, we create 3D models of every course and the surrounding countryside. With information delivered from Rawmotion’s data management solution to Ventuz, we are able to visualise each driver’s performance on the track in realtime”.
To add a layer of competitive drama, Dörr wanted to visualise different performances at the same time. Rayd responded by creating a ‘ghost’. “An additional ghost car mode adds a previous driver to the 3D environment, making it possible to compare their performances easily”, explains Grimm.
Flexibility and stability
Within fast-moving action sports, the flexibility and performance offered by Ventuz enable Grimm and his team to build and update graphic packages quickly and efficiently. The platform’s broad range of data modification and manipulation capabilities are also helpful in discussions between Rawmotion’s development team and Rayd’s design team to ensure the team can deliver the narrative vision.
“We use Ventuz to design graphic elements from the outset. It’s so fast and convenient that for most of our projects, we don’t have to process graphics through Photoshop and After Effects, which helps to streamline the workflow.” And, when there’s a need to use enhanced 3D graphics, in track overviews, for example, he adds that the seamless integration of graphics produced in game engines like Unreal or Unity comes in quite handy.
Additionally, Ventuz’ ability to work with and integrate real-time data from a broad range of databases, file-based sources like Excel or JSON, live tracking, camera data or Rawmotion’s .NET-based control software allows for maximum flexibility in real-time events.
Platform stability is also a priority on location in extreme environments. “In live, often remote productions, you can’t afford to have any complications, instabilities, or crashes whatsoever”, says Grimm. Dörr agrees and acknowledges that Ventuz stability continues to surpass expectations. ”I can’t even remember when we last had a problem”, he says. “We have a lot of 24/7 productions now, which basically means we go on air at 8:00 o’clock in the morning and off at 8:00 o’clock at night. When I talk to other technical engineers on location about Ventuz, they are often really surprised and impressed to hear how stable our system is”.
Considering the future of real-time technology, Grimm names personalisation, device and screen compatibility as key factors that are shaping design-side conversations. From a production perspective, Dörr notes that there is a drive towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly productions, making the remote workflows developed during the pandemic more relevant than ever.
As for what’s next for Rayd and Rawmotion, given that there is no shortage of freestyle sports events and a growing appetite for data-driven broadcast coverage, the team will no doubt continue to drive storytelling in this adrenalin-fuelled sector.
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