Reality Check Systems Provides Advanced Graphics Capabilities for Eredivisie, Bundesliga
Reality Check Systems (RCS) recently wrapped up two ambitious projects bringing advanced graphics and data capabilities to Eredivisie and Bundesliga. Working closely with European production company Endemol Sport, RCS created a robust graphics hub to facilitate the broadcast of consistent high-quality graphics for Eredivisie football matches, which air exclusively on FOX Sports Netherlands; the centralized solution comprises proprietary software, data management apps and Vizrt Engines. Bundesliga also engaged RCS directly this summer to build its worldwide match graphics package and graphical elements, including a virtual set, for the original weekly highlights show “Goal.”
For Eredivisie, a team led by RCS Producer David Peacock implemented a comprehensive workflow in Endemol’s Amsterdam production facility to enable the seamless broadcast of cohesive graphics during matches airing on FOX. Facilitating the pipeline, control PCs send commands to two dual-channel Vizrt engines in a Hilversum play-out facility 17km away, which receive clean pictures and deliver four outputs: a live feed with match graphics and interactive components, a world feed for free-to-air channel programs, a clock-only edit feed and a match feed for rebroadcast and archiving. RCS also built control software to ensure tailored graphics for each feed, and an intuitive application that allows operators to easily push out real-time graphics.
As part of the engagement, the team developed a separate studio infrastructure for the launch of five new FOX Sports channels. The space is used to provide graphics for FOX Sports studio programming for Eredivisie, Premier League, Serie A and other European football shows; a weekly review and analysis program; and the FOX Sports Centraal newscast.
“RCS has proven to be a very reliable, flexible and understanding partner in the rollout of the FOX Sports graphics operation in the Netherlands. We couldn’t have pulled off the ambitious project in such a short timeframe without them,” said Victor Winkelhagen, Head of Production at Endemol Sport. “From the start of the project, they took us by the hand in technically designing the workflow, implementing and perfecting designs and training operators; RCS has always been on top of the game. Even after the go-live date, the RCS team has been [and still is] monitoring the project to secure quality, and to make sure we are constantly improving and moving the workflow forward.”
Bundesliga Hits Goal
Last summer, RCS Co-Founder and Executive Producer Steven Heimbold spearheaded a six-person team to deliver a dynamic graphics package for the Bundesliga, in addition to graphical elements for “Goal” – a weekly league highlight show produced by the Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH (DFL) at the Cologne Broadcasting Center (CBC). In four months, RCS’ crew created approximately 50 graphical elements in English and German for Bundesliga rights holders to air during broadcasts; these insert graphics included a clock and score, standings, leaderboards, lower thirds and more. To facilitate customizable studio graphics and virtual sets for “Goal,” RCS wrote custom scripts that automatically populate the desired team’s colors and logo into the various graphics.
“RCS was great to collaborate with; not only do they understand design, but they also possess the deep technical knowledge required to implement it efficiently,” shared Björn Conrad, director of design & events, Bundesliga. “We’re now able to easily integrate statistical data into our graphics with a better technical flow, which has helped elevate the caliber of our graphics and brought us further into the international spotlight.”