NAB 2019: ChyronHego Intros AR and Virtual-Set Graphics, Highlights Dallas Cowboys’ 4K Arena Graphics
ChyronHego (Booth SL1208) is introducing Fresh, a graphics-rendering solution that integrates Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) with ChyronHego’s augmented-reality (AR) and virtual-set (VS) software. In addition, the company is highlighting the comprehensive upgrade of the ChyronHego-based arena-graphics systems at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Fresh makes news, weather, or sports look more real than ever because the AR graphics — including text and titles — are all completely integrated into the Unreal scene.
“With ChyronHego Fresh, news, weather, and sports producers no longer need to struggle with multiple types of render engines and toolsets, which can result in varying degrees of quality. Now, Fresh offers a complete graphics solution that’s fully integrated into the Unreal scene,” said Alon Stoerman, senior product manager, live production solutions, ChyronHego. “This means producers are able to tell a better story and captivate viewers through high-quality AR graphics that look orders-of-magnitude better than graphics created with traditional rendering engines. They’re also able to do it faster and easier than ever before, since Fresh can be operated as an integral part of the rundown. These are truly unique capabilities in the industry and fill a huge requirement for our broadcast customers.”
An industry first, Fresh includes a robust primitive library with 3D graphic objects, including text, that is fully integrated into the UE4 environment. This feature enables producers to add eye-catching titles and other 3D elements quickly and easily without having to rerender them for the gaming engine. The built-in primitive library sets Fresh apart from other AR broadcast-graphics systems that require the broadcast elements to be created in a traditional graphics-rendering engine and then added as a separate layer on top of the Unreal scene. Not only does this requirement add more time and complexity to the process — a liability during a breaking news or weather event — but the resulting graphics lack the realism and “look” of the gaming engine. With Fresh, however, the graphics are rendered as part of the UE4 scene and carry the same photorealistic and hyper-realistic look as the other scene elements.
Through a seamless integration with ChyronHego’s CAMIO, Fresh enables a MOS-driven workflow that automatically incorporates any AR/VS element into the station’s familiar news environment. This integration makes it even easier for producers to tell a better story because AR graphics are part of the news rundown along with every other graphic element and all other parts of the broadcast lineup.
Fresh offers another unique and powerful capability for broadcast AR graphics. It is the only solution to offer preview capabilities, giving producers the ability to verify accuracy of the graphics before they’re aired. In this manner, broadcasters are able to avoid costly on-air mistakes (for example, incorrect election results) that can have large-scale consequences, such as loss of revenue and reduced credibility.
With the built-in screen parallax features in Fresh, the virtual set background moves and changes realistically in coordination with camera motion to add to the set’s realism. Fresh can also combine live feeds within the UE4 scene, giving producers the ability to tell an even better and more compelling news story with a combination of highly sophisticated AR graphics and live feeds or clips.
In addition, Fresh offers a unique zero-delay function that, when used with ChyronHego’s robotic tracking head solutions, removes the need for additional equipment and complex audio processing to compensate for the delay between AR/VS elements and other content.
Arena Graphics at AT&T Stadium
Headlining the arena-graphics upgrade at AT&T Stadium project is Click Effects PRIME, ChyronHego’s integrated graphics toolset for delivering live arena- and stadium-based A/V presentations to any canvas size with any number of outputs in any resolution. Click Effects PRIME — along with the latest versions of ChyronHego’s LyricX, Paint, and Virtual 1st — is ushering in a new era of 4K production on the LiveFX end-zone board.
“AT&T Stadium is beginning its 11th season this year, and ChyronHego systems have been our mainstay since day one. Personally, I’ve been using Chyron products for the better part of my 40-year career, which gives me a keen perspective on how well these technologies have improved and evolved,” said Dwin Towell, director, broadcast engineering, Dallas Cowboys. “Our migration to 4K will eventually require replacement of every screen and system in this stadium, but we’ve never questioned whether ChyronHego was the right graphics provider in this huge undertaking. With Click Effects PRIME as the perfect example, these solutions are mature, dependable, and very well-supported. Also, since ChyronHego is an industry standard for graphics production, it’s easy to find technicians who are well-versed in the systems.”
The Cowboys’ first LED to display 4K content, and the team’s first Click Effects PRIME installation, is the large LiveFX end-zone board. Used primarily for game support graphics, such as replay videos and fan entertainment during breaks, the board went live with 4K video clips and graphics driven by Click Effects PRIME for the 2018 football season.
For the 2019 season, all Dallas Cowboys cameras will record in 4K, and the team will expand Click Effects PRIME to larger numbers of displays. Eventually, Click Effects PRIME will drive 4K graphics to every display in AT&T Stadium, including the huge center-hung LED board, two levels of ribbon boards, gap boards over the four entrances, and more than 3,000 smaller screens located throughout the stadium.
The new native GPU-based technologies in Click Effects PRIME give the system the power to deliver HD and UHD content to multiple screens simultaneously and synchronize multiple outputs in native resolutions. This capability makes possible “Moments of Exclusivity,” or MOEs, in which the team is able to trigger multiple displays throughout the stadium network and display a single, exciting graphic on each: for example, a large “Touchdown!” graphic when the Cowboys score or an eye-catching image of a key player at the instant he reaches a lifetime career record.
In addition to Click Effects PRIME, the Dallas Cowboys are upgrading to the latest versions of the LyricX graphics creation and playout solution, Paint telestration tool, and Virtual 1st “down-and-distance” football graphics tool. The Cowboys’ deployment of Paint and Virtual 1st is unique, with inputs from two separate cameras delivering north and south views to the center-hung screen to give each fan the best possible viewing angle. Paint and Virtual 1st are able to calibrate both inputs quickly and automatically to show the virtual first down line and enable telestrated explanations of replays from any vantage point on the field.
“4K resolution is the wave of the future for live, arena-based productions. As they have done for so many other key technology innovations, the Dallas Cowboys are blazing a trail for 4K stadium shows,” said Randy Dickerson, national director sports venues and strategic accounts, ChyronHego. “It’s an honor to work with the Cowboys as they make history, once again, and keep pushing the envelope for arena-based sports and entertainment.”