Ross Video’s Rocket Surgery Reflects on 2020 Election Successes
The Coronavirus pandemic may have dominated 2020’s news cycles, but the US Presidential election was a close second in terms of coverage, with news channels in the USA and around the world following the build up to election day and the controversial aftermath. Now that the election has been decided, the team at Rocket Surgery, Ross Video’s in-house creative services division, can pause and reflect on their work during the campaign.
“We’ve been creating elections graphics packages and workflows for many years now,” notes Jim Doyle, Director of Creative Services at Rocket Surgery. “It’s all about providing tools that take the data produced during elections and use it in a way that enhances storytelling, helping viewers understand results in a highly visual and engaging way.” Advances in technology, including augmented reality/virtual set (AR/VS) and improved graphics rendering solutions such as Voyager on Unreal, have helped Jim and his team do the job more successfully. “We’re now able to create some impressive and realistic effects that feature maps of the country, virtual legislative chambers, political party heat maps and so on, and we’ve brought these into the studio either as augmented reality graphical elements or rendered them on large LED walls in the studio using XPression. The creative tools we use have improved a lot over the last few years as gaming engine technology has worked its way into broadcast, and that has opened up some amazing possibilities for us.”
During the recent US election, Rocket’s Surgery clients included WGN NewsNation, the nightly news show on WGN America that reaches over 75 Million homes in the US, KXAS-TV/LX, the NBC-owned and operated station serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas, WKAQ-TV Telemundo in Puerto Rico, NewsMax, and WFXG Fox 54 News Now in the US state of Georgia.
“All of our customers wanted graphics to support their on-air results shows,” Doyle comments, “but each customer had slightly different requirements. We helped create a large touchscreen LED display for WGN, whereas KXAS wanted a full virtual set. WKAQ preferred to use augmented reality to deliver the live results and WFXG needed a standard insert package. We’re fortunate to have all these tools at Ross, and plenty of experience using them, so our conversations mostly revolved around the creative look and feel for each customer and how each package would be configured and controlled. It’s always satisfying when we can skip the ‘if’ question and jump straight into the ‘how’.”
Osvaldo Linares, Director of Production Services at Telemundo Puerto Rico, had this to say:” Everything ran smoothly… I would like to thank you and your staff for all the great work and support during this process through election day. They were very helpful, and their support was beyond our expectations. The augmented reality was produced professionally, and the team were very supportive during our election coverage. Once again, thanks for all the great work!”