TV2 Norway employed a customised Vizrt package to power graphics and manage incoming data during its recent community election coverage. Viz|Content Pilot content management and Viz|Artist 3.1 2D/3D realtime animation and visual effects software both contributed to taking TV2's recent election coverage to a new level of visual sophistication, writes Adrian Pennington.
TV2 Director of News and Feature Production, Peter Ocskay, said that the station's mission was clear when planning the presentation of data from 400 communities. "We already knew how powerful our Vizrt graphics solutions were, and we really wanted to push the envelope this time around," he explained. "We wanted to make our election coverage extremely user-friendly and easy to understand. Vizrt software products helped us put our anchor in control as a storyteller throughout the whole evening."
The live coverage lasted for sixteen hours. Ocskay said TV2 used an interactive touchscreen to display each updated poll number as it came in. Using maps, figures and various party-specific icons, the show host could pinpoint the polling place, go to the live report, take in the information and assimilate it into the graphics in realtime. As the coverage began, TV2 decided to highlight 65 communities and pinpoint developments there. As the night progressed, the show producers and graphics artists employed the Vizrt software workflows and graphics generators to add an additional 20 communities to the overall voting picture.
The sheer volume of data and images that needed management during TV2's marathon coverage of the 2007 local elections required a high-powered rendering engine and an organised workflow. More than two million voters cast their ballots to determine the political leadership of Norway's townships and counties for the next four years. TV2's coverage also included live reports from 24 different locations and offered realtime updates on the latest polling figures as they occurred. TV2 used Vizrt's powerful rendering engine, Viz|Engine, to control text and image editing, as well as changes in realtime to all graphic elements and animation effects during the election coverage.
"What we did during the last election has never been done before in Norway," Ocskay continued. "As head producer, I was stationed at one desk and could easily be connected with each live shot location throughout the night. Everything was set up in such a streamlined manner, I was able to keep my host informed and continue to plan our next move at least three steps ahead."
The ability to make changes online and respond immediately when developments warranted was essential to TV2's mission to make the election coverage meaningful for its viewers. Ocskay added: "We weren't just presenting facts and figures - our coverage was fluid and interactive with our audience. We helped them understand what was happening as it happened."