Vizrt Viz Arena, real-time software for creating and superimposing 3D virtual graphics over live sports content, is now in version 5.1. It includes upgraded automation of keying and frame-accurate placement of graphics using the Viz AI engine, and complete integration of the Viz Arc AR graphics control application.
Graphics content can be placed over the stands or under the players in a stadium or court, on a race track or on uneven surfaces like golf courses. Various types of augmented reality graphics are suitable, from regionalised outputs to those used to explain gameplay such as down and distance lines, offside lines, heatmaps, player line-ups or replay graphics to review referee calls. All graphics can be shown live. Tracking is image-based, which prevents the need for technical equipment at the venue.
AI Powered Keying
Viz Arena has a new set of Advanced Keyers that largely automate keying tasks and use algorithms trained on data through Vizrt’s AI engine, Viz AI. The system also intelligently handles the specific ambient conditions of events as they happen, making it independent of external constraints and able to optimise the results. This kind of intelligent automation limits the amount of manual interaction required, and AI-powered keying generally produces better visual quality for the viewer as well.
The algorithms have been trained to recognise and deal with characteristics typical of each sport. The Advanced Soccer Keyer compensates for the effects of changing daylight conditions and strong sun/shadow contrast in stadiums, and the Advanced Basketball Keyer manages court reflections and similar foreground/background keying colours. Initially, the training efforts have focussed on these two sports but as training continues, similar types of automation will be extended to other sports as well.
Viz Arena 5.1's new Advanced Cut Detection (ACD), also automated, is purpose-built to help teams working in fast-paced live sports production by frame-accurately handling virtual graphics during camera transitions, hard or soft cuts and wipes, without manual intervention. In response to the operator’s work, the process works by activating and disabling virtual graphics on the program feed in real-time in a downstream workflow, so they remain correctly positioned regardless of the perspective.
Viz Arc Controls Now Integrated
The AR control tools from Viz Arc are integrated into Viz Arena, which means operators can drive AR graphics and virtual sets from a single interface and set up AR elements by mapping them to various locations.
The combination of Viz Arena's tracking and keying capabilities with Viz Arc's controls gives users the ability to manage playlists, rundowns, data integration or line-ups and control tracking, keying, positioning and triggering of the graphics directly, all from a single interface. Viz Arena 5.1’s open control API also becomes available to other control applications by embedding the Arena Preview Video as an NDI feed into the Arc Control App, to trigger all live commands from one GUI.
When Arena’s features are applied to virtual advertising, in effect, revenue is no longer bound by the physical limitations of available inventory. Rights holders and brands can maximize the commercial potential of sports sponsorship and live in-game advertising. The ad and sponsoring portfolio can be extended to more assets, the assets can be split among multiple sponsors, and the performance of existing inventory can be enhanced with regionalized, targeted brand messages for each event and sport.
Viz Arena 5.1 is available now. www.vizrt.com