This is how French TV channel La Chaîne l‘Equipe used Vizrt AR Graphics in the 2019 Women’s Football World Cup

AR Graphics on a TV Show on Women's World Cup 2019

Broadcasters around the world continue to find new and interesting ways to leverage analytical graphics to help tell better stories. During the last Women’s Football World Cup, French sport TV channel La Chaîne l’ Equipe used highly innovative augmented reality (AR) graphics of the football pitch to help explain important plays during the various matches.

During a roundtable discussion on the channel’s highly rated “L’Equipe Du Soir” show regarding the Championship Finals match between France and the United States, as the group discussed key plays, a 3D football pitch appeared on screen between the commentators (one commentator snapped his fingers and a 3D representation seemingly fell from the sky). They were then able to look directly at live action replays from above and stop and start play to make a point during their discussion. On-set visual tools like this help viewers get a better understanding of the discussion and the subject matter at hand.

“We wanted to find an innovative visual support tool to enrich our debates,” said Jérôme Aubin, Head of Production at La Chaîne l’ Equipe and Olivier Ferrand, Head of Broadcasting to add “The editorial goal was to give the various speakers, journalists and consultants the ability to control the action, analyze the key moments and choose the best line of sight without being dependent on the footage from the broadcaster.”

Each highlight is available in real time approximately 30 minutes after the live event takes place. The effect was created with Vizrt´s AR graphics systems, Viz Virtual Studio with Netventure NQuad, using a design from local system integrator Post Logic, 3D footage from 3Dreplay and new software plugins from Erizos called ezMesh. The Viz Virtual Studio system was used to process the highly accurate camera tracking and software-generated information while the Vizrt platform, Viz Engine rendered the entire scene in real-time.

3Dreplay supplied the replays, recreated in 3D, used for the AR effect. 3Dreplay has developed a new 3D export process of their own proprietary tools that tightly integrates with the Viz Engine. Post Logic then merged the live action and computer-generated graphics in order to create an augmented reality 3D replay.

AR Graphics on a TV Show on Women's World Cup 2019 - Match

The state-of-the-art AR tabletop design offered the commentators the ability to play and replay an event, and choose the playback speed when simultaneously the director can change the viewing angle. The commentators were also able to add visual information on the replay displayed, such as visually identifying on screen the offside-line, player highlights, trajectories, ball speed and players stats.

“This project by Post Logic shows what is capable using Vizrt and the plugins provided by Erizos, and some ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking,” said Ronny van den Bergh, CEO, Erizos. “The results are absolutely amazing. This is a great example of how we enjoy working with customers and providing them with tools to push the boundaries.”

Emmanuelle Jaïs, Sales ManagerManger at Post Logic said that the Erizos team modified its 3D import plugin in order to manage and animate the 23 characters on the virtual pitch at HD resolution while letting the Viz Engine power the display of other graphical elements, such as environment, data, projectors and drop shadows and additional realism added by adding ambient occlusion using the ezPostFx plugin by Erizos.

“It was close collaboration between Post Logic and 3D replay that gave birth to this project,” she said. “In parallel we pushed the limits of the Viz Engine to get an optimal rendering. In terms of quality, we wanted to offer l’Équipe high-end rendering quality with smooth and realistic players, shadows, ambient occlusion and even depth of field. I think we accomplished that very effectively.”

It’s new Vizrt graphics technologies like these that are helping broadcasters such as La Chaine L’Equipe increase viewer ratings and keep them coming back for more. The overall audience for the Women’s World Cup coverage on the channel was “very good,” according to everyone involved, and enhancing it with AR graphics helped distinguish its coverage from the competition. 

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