Raycom Adds AR to CW Coverage of ACC College Football

Raycom and CW Courtside Saturday took their coverage of the North Alabama vs FSU ACC college football game to a whole new level by bringing in Movicom’s Robycam Stadium cable camera system to cover the game and add AR graphics for the score and other 3D graphic elements.

The Raycom/Movicom relationship started off when NEP’s Fletcher Specialty capture division introduced Raycom to some of the technologies that Movicom has developed to cover sports and Raycom decided to take a chance on Movicom’s Earcam wearable RF camera to use as a ‘chain gang’ camera to bring the on-field action closer to viewers. This provided several great replays at a couple of games, and then Raycom was able to persuade the ACC to allow them to put the camera on the umpire – one of the on-field officials.

Being light and unobtrusive made the camera a quick hit with the referees who ‘forgot’ that they were wearing it. The first time out the camera was used extensively for replays and taken live from the field for the ref’s POV. But the highlight of the first game was when Mark Wilson, the Umpire on the UNC vs Virginia Tech game happened to be standing next to the game ending interception and caught the moment on the Earcam. Not only did that shot generate viral replays, but the angle was used to determine that the interception was called correctly on the field when UNC challenged the call.

Since then, the camera has worked every weekend on a CW ACC college football game and Dec 18th was no exception. It was a busy weekend for Movicom and Raycom – the company’s Earcam RF wearable system was being used on the umpire at both the North Alabama/FSU game as well as the Duke @ Virginia CW ACC Football game in Charlottesville, where it was sponsored by DirectTV. 

With the success of the Earcam, Raycom decided to take another chance with Movicom and took advantage of the Robycam’s integrated tracking capabilities that facilitate AR graphics to promote the kickoff of their ACC basketball coverage by dropping a huge basketball in the middle of FSU Stadium to promote the Dec 2nd kick off of CW’s ACC basketball coverage.

The score was created and used as a large 3D AR graphic that floated above the field as the Robycam flew around it. Early in the game two large football helmets that featured the North Alabama and FSU logos shot sparks and electric bolts at each other to highlight the matchup for the game. The Robycam was able to take full advantage of the 3D graphics by flying all around them and over them like a real object.  The graphics were generated by an EU based graphics company called 9bitgraphics who have partnered with Movicom to make the 3D AR graphics that show off the cable-camera’s capabilities easier and faster to access for producers. Unreal Engine was used for all of the work. 

“We’ve been looking for a place to showcase our tracking capabilities for a while, and we’re very excited that Raycom was able to find a place and a way to use them. The technology has come a long way and we really want to innovate in the way that AR graphics get used in sports. Bill Stafford and his team were excellent partners in making this happen. Also, the venue team at FSU was integral in making this happen and went out of their way to accommodate us.”, says Greg Salman, COO at Movicom.

Bill Stafford VP of Engineering and Technology Operations Raycom Sport, adds, “When The CW scheduled the FSU game, we knew our season coverage would lead to that game and the cornerstone of The CW’s first year of college football.  Brad Schwartz Entertainment, President of The CW, was very supportive and gave us the resources to add additional layers of enhancements.  That allowed Raycom Sports to partner with Greg Salman at RobyCam and Jonathan Stein at NEP Fletcher to bring the RobyCam with AR/360 graphics to FSU.  It truly made an impact on the feel of the game and increased the level of production.  Scott Snyder(producer) and Lonnie Dale (Director) did a great using these tools for a great broadcast.”

Rob Reichley Executive Producer Raycom Sports, says, “The Roby Cam provided a BIG look to the North Alabama at #4 Florida State game on The CW.  The rolling shots over a packed house at Doak Campbell Stadium were spectacular and showed the intensity of a game in Tallahassee.  The AR elements were a great look off the Roby Cam displaying the score, matchup and the start of ACC Basketball on The CW Courtside Saturday with a huge basketball hovering over the field.”

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