|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
An extreme partnership
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.