Popular German Children’s Game Show Counts on Ventuz for Graphics and Video Wall Control.
1, 2 oder 3 is considered the first children’s game show on German television. Initially aired in 1977, it has been around for over 36 years with more than 850 episodes. Still it ranks among the most popular kid’s programs of the country. For a few years now, the show’s graphics have been created by the German agency Opengames.TV using the Ventuz software suite. As a classic game show, 1, 2 oder 3 features three teams of kids from different countries competing against each other. Every episode centers on a certain topic that is explored through questions, experiments and film clips. Host Elton and the show’s mascot Piet Flosse maintain a fun atmosphere while at the same time establishing a valuable learning experience. This combination has made the show an all time favorite for generations of children and parents alike.
The ever changing topics of the show require a large amount of flexibility when it comes to the graphical content. New questions have to be drawn from the database, new images need to be created and last minute changes are necessary during all stages of production. Bernd Schläfke, CEO of Opengames.TV, regards these challenges with a relaxed attitude ever since he started using Ventuz. “Having a real-time software to operate this show has made my life significantly easier. With Ventuz, we can manage all imponderabilities without breaking into a sweat, and the directors and editors love the possibility to make changes until minutes before the show.” The studio is equipped with a 3 by 3 video wall, in front of which an LED plane is laid into the floor. Additionally, thirteen monitors are installed around the video wall as satellites to enhance the graphical display.
Each team has a desk with a camera facing screen, an embedded screen for the contestants to review questions, and a buzzer. The content on all these devices as well as the on-air graphics are designed in and controlled by a multitude of Ventuz servers. At the beginning of each episode, the video wall and the thirteen satellite screens show an introduction of the show’s topic. Here the entire setup needs to operate as one synchronized system with two different modes: either all screens show the same content as the wall, or the graphics are split to cover the entire surface of all elements as one large screen. “Setting up an installation such as this is very easy in Ventuz”, explained Bernd. “We control the video wall and satellite screens as one project and distribute the content according to our needs without splitting or reprogramming.”
The central and name-giving element of the show consists of the jumping questions. The host reads a question and three possible answers to all three teams. Per each answer, the video wall displays a characteristic graphical element across all nine screens. This content is then reduced to a vertical segment on the wall. The exact same segment is also shown on the LED floor panel. This procedure continues until video wall and floor panel are segmented into three equal areas – the leftmost third for answer number one, the central area for answer number two, the rightmost part for answer number three. The kids – their guess in mind – run up to the video wall and jump across all three segments of the LED floor panel. Elton then shouts the command: “One, two or three – last chance over!” By the end of this, each child stays on the segment of the answer they consider most likely.
The segment of the correct answer is then highlighted, each child on this area is given a point and the kids return to their desks. Ventuz not only controls the video wall and LED floor, but also helps the operator in the gallery when counting out the points. A camera is installed above the LED panel. Once the children are in their final positions and the correct answer has been revealed, the camera shoots ten images, one per second, from a bird’s eye view, which are then run through a Ventuz broadcast server and shown to the operator in a loop. Green arrows indicate the correct segment and thus allow the operator to thoroughly count out the points and send them to the director and editor for approval. The second way for the children’s teams to score points are the buzzer questions. Again Elton reads a question, which is also displayed on air as a lower third and on the teams’ desk screens. He then reads one possible answer after another.
As soon as one team thinks it knows the correct answer, it hits the buzzer. Each desk is controlled by one Ventuz server, all of which are connected to the gallery as well as the GrandMa lighting desk. According to the commands from the Ventuz servers, GrandMa triggers one of five different light moods. “Connectivity is a major advantage when working with Ventuz”, said Bernd. “Especially in a studio environment where many different technologies come together, it is vital to be able to operate the entire setup as a whole. Ventuz has improved our workflow significantly in this area.” Ever since the show’s first airing in 1977, it has gone through a multitude of changes: new technologies have been introduced, hosts have come and gone, the production has changed from 4:3 to 16:9 and now to HD playout. Nonetheless, the popularity of 1, 2 oder 3 has never decreased. Currently, Opengames.TV is switching the entire setup to the newest release of Ventuz to take advantage of the new video wall configuration editor and many other new features.