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BBC Sport creates an ‘enhanced experience’ for viewers with virtual Beijing 2022 studio

Broadcaster is using Vizrt’s Viz Engine 4 coupled with Unreal Engine 4 render pipeline to create its studio environment at MediaCity in Manchester

BBC Sport is utilising technology from Vizrt to create its virtual studio during coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The broadcaster is using Vizrt’s Viz Engine 4 coupled with Unreal Engine 4 render pipeline and Vizrt’s Fusion Keyer, all driven by Vizrt’s virtual set controller, to create its studio environment at MediaCity in Manchester.

According to Vizrt, Viz Engine offers native integration of the Unreal Engine and the Viz Arc control application enable users to control aspects of both render pipelines – allowing them to “focus on the story being told, not the specifics of how the graphics are rendered”. 

BBC Sport has been working the Vizrt ecosystem since April 2021, using it to broadcast  programmes from several key sporting tournaments including, Match of The Day, Euro 2020, and the 2020 Summer Olympics and 2022 Winter Games.

“Prior to the summer, we converted a small studio space at Media City into a green screen area with a virtual design (by Jim Mann and Toby Kalitowski) and enhanced rendering technology to deliver an immersive, enhanced experience for audiences,” said John Murphy, creative director and head of graphics for sport at the BBC. “The studio, with five different presenting positions that can house a variety of sports output, will be a key presentation location for BBC Sport this year, including the Winter Games for which we have added more design and development.”

It is a busy year for sport, and with many audiences tuning in from home, it’s essential to the success of the broadcast to provide viewers with dynamic graphics alongside an innovative visual experience which means they are absorbed into the story, despite the distance,” added Murphy. “Hopefully, we can deliver this visual story-telling for sports fans with the additions to our studios and broadcasts utilising innovative technology,”