Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sports Graphics

Seeing as last Sunday was the Superbowl, I figured this week would be an appropriate time to talk about motion graphics in terms of sports. With lower thirds, wipes, bugs, and boards, sports is consistently paving the way with innovative motion graphics and animation.

As part of my internship last summer, I worked on broadcasts of the Cape Cod Baseball League for Fox College Sports. Before the first game, one of my responsibilities was to export the alpha transitions they would use to go to replay for our switcher in our truck. However what I found the most interesting about the graphics was how they did the score bug. There are many different ways to do score bugs. Here at Ithaca College on our football and basketball broadcasts for Bombers Live, we use a channel of our Chyron, a two channel character generator. However, this is not really ideal since it then takes away a channel that could be used for other things like lower thirds. At my internship, Fox actually sent us their own proprietary system called a FoxBox. This was a computer with software that would let you type in the score and the would output a key and fill channel to the switcher. The machine is also smart enough to know that three strikes make an out and other rules of the game. But what I think was probably the coolest thing about it was the fact that it had a serial data input that would read data from a radar gun and output the speed of the pitches. Fox isn't the only network with systems like these. Most others have similar things. Daktronics, the major company who manufacturers scoreboards also has equipment that allow you to take a feed from the scoreboard and use that in your broadcast.


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