IBC Q&A: Mike Ward, Reality Check Systems

Sports-broadcast–wise, what was the big story of the last 12 months for Reality Check Systems?
In the last 12 months in Europe, we have been working with Eredivisie and Bundesliga. Eredivisie have a highly sophisticated operation based at a central master-control location, from where all the graphics and production are done. We are working with Bundesliga to produce a graphics package to compete with any broadcaster around the world and also with some of their productions. Viewers will see a huge improvement from this season.

Sky Deutschland became the first European broadcaster to use our Uppercut HD production system for their F1 broadcast (although the system is used extensively in the USA and by a large global motor-racing federation). Not only do they have a full suite of Vizrt graphics but require a much smaller team at each race to produce a pre- and post-event show with graphics, mixing between live links, replays, and interviews all through our single-operator, touchscreen interface. 

In the USA, we designed a complete new sports-graphics package (across all sports) for CBS Sports that launched on Super Bowl, and delivered projects for Twitter, DIRECTV, Riot Games, MLB, and NFLN amongst others.

Very big topic but here goes anyway: what’s the next paradigm shift for sports-broadcast workflow going to be?
Systems that allow either reduced headcount for production or increased output from existing headcount or both (like our Uppercut system) are going to be more prevalent.

Another way of creating more content efficiently is with data integration. Companies like OPTA are providing more and more data, and so the challenge is how to utilise and present it. For NFL Network, we have built a live “program” that they broadcast during games. It is an operator-free, 100%-data-driven broadcast that is now their second-highest-rated show. Showing key match data and score updates, our Game Centre also allows them to automate video and can be output to either broadcast or web.

What can you tell us about your plans for IBC2013? And how important a part of the calendar is it for RCS?
IBC is a must-attend event for us as we continue to undertake more projects in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It is a great chance to meet up with existing clients, potential clients, and to have a look at what new technologies are being showcased. We are particularly excited about this one as we are currently working with Vizrt on a new package for their booth and will have just launched our latest projects with Eredivisie and Bundesliga.

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