Woodbine Entertainment goes on air with Tactic Live for horse racing coverage
Horse racing operator Woodbine Entertainment has recently gone on air with RT Software’s Tactic Live for its live coverage. It is now able to show a range of virtual graphics, including furlong distance markers and sponsor’s logos, which are rendered live over the horse racing broadcasts.
Andrew Barnhardt, Woodbine’s director of technology operations, was heavily involved in the project. He said: “We’re always looking for innovative new ways to showcase our sport and we have a history of developing new technologies and introducing to our sport existing technology used elsewhere to enhance our sports productions. We tried out several different broadcast virtual graphics products over the years, but they could not deliver the quality and consistency that we needed. We had been talking to RT Software for a while, and we were impressed with the performance of their solution. They were focused on demonstrating their value to us and ultimately we selected them as a partner, and we’re happy that we did.”
He continued: “We have some unique technical challenges when it comes to adding virtual graphics over our live video: a large outdoor field of play; frequent and large variances in light intensity and shadows; four seasons of weather (including snow and fog); and fast-moving subjects which are often the same colour as the surface they are running on. RT Software impressed us with how well its system coped with all of these challenges. Tactic Live delivered what they said it would and we are very pleased with the results.
“No system exists in isolation, so it was important that RT Software worked well with our existing camera heads and that’s why we brought in the Mo-Sys camera tracking system, which has worked flawlessly. The relationship and integration between all three parties went very smoothly. Setting the system up went well, and we had great support from RT Software whenever we needed it, both hands-on and remotely.”
Since the broadcasts have gone live, Barnhardt says they have had lots of comments: “It’s been great to receive so much immediate, positive feedback from our peers in the industry. They all have similar challenges and so they were keen to know who provided the technology. We were happy to recommend RT Software to them. But, perhaps more importantly, it’s the reaction of our audience that matters. Especially for newer fans to the sport, the graphics provide an extra piece of data and insight, which fans are used to seeing across other professional sports. They love it!”
The project has gone so well for Woodbine that Barnhardt says they are now considering other possibilities. “Next we are working on other ways that we could use this technology in our productions. We’re also considering further expansion across both of our facilities and adding graphics synchronised across multiple cameras.
“RT Software has other broadcast graphics products that we are interested in. Their focus on both value and quality certainly opens up more options for us. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with RT Software as we continue to introduce innovative solutions to the sport.”
Mike Fredriksen, RT Software commercial director, said: “It has been a great privilege to work with such a prestigious company as Woodbine Entertainment. We know our technology has significant advantages compared to some other broadcast graphics vendors, so it is very satisfying to receive Woodbine’s validation of our approach. We look forward to other exciting opportunities to work with Andrew and the Woodbine team.”