Transforming South African Sports Production
South Africa is in the midst of a creative boom, with production ramping up in movies, music, and especially sports. Since it hosted the 2010 World Cup, South Africa has been reshaping its image across the globe and challenging old perceptions that African countries are too underdeveloped to hold major sports events.
As a result, sports production efforts have increased to enhance and transform the sports media landscape to capitalize and monetize on the significant opportunity that exists in developing the African sports market. At the heart of some of the most significant recent projects are Vizrt’s world-class solutions.
Supplying superior sports graphics with Seb4vision
Seb4vision is the biggest graphics services and production company based in South Africa. They provide sports broadcasting graphics services for cricket, rugby, football, and more. Due to the success and growth of the sports market in Africa, Seb4vision was on a mission to expand its operations from South Africa across the continent and enlisted Vizrt to help.
A company of passion, creativity, and drive, Seb4vision offers tailor-made graphics solutions to its African clients, including match graphics, augmented reality graphics, virtual advertising solutions, mobile virtual studios, a crowd-replacement solution, analysis tools, telestrator, touchscreen and second-screen experience solutions, powered by Vizrt.
“We have so far achieved the first part of our dream, which was to provide quality broadcast graphics solutions in Africa that can match-up to world-class productions. And we have done so not only in South Africa but also achieved it across Africa. This was made possible by Vizrt. In our inventory, we have Viz Artist and Viz Engine, Viz Libero, Viz Trio and Viz Virtual Studio. Thanks to the range of Vizrt products and quality of sports graphics we offer, we were involved with the recent British and Irish Lions tour in South Africa,” states Lucky Sebola, Founder and Managing Director, Seb4Vision.
“For that project, we were able to offer a live multi-cam augmented reality opener alongside a second screen experience and match analysis with illustration solutions, too. We were also able to use all the solutions for the productions at one venue, adding additional value for the client. Our promise was to bring world-class products to Africa and empower others. And we have been able to do this with the solutions from Vizrt – it really opened opportunities for our company beyond our expectations,” concludes Sebola.
Seb4vision started eight years ago in Johannesburg, servicing lower leagues with sports graphics and production in South Africa. They have since grown to serve Premier League sports. They’ve grown beyond South Africa into Southern Africa, West Africa, and East Africa with plans to continue growth and innovation to stay ahead of the ever-evolving landscape of broadcast and graphics. Right alongside them, providing world-class best-of-breed solutions, will be Vizrt.
Learn more about Seb4vision’s relationship with Vizrt in the testimonial video clip below.
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Transforming live horse racing production through the cloud
One area of sports within South Africa undergoing significant transformation is the horse racing industry. The sport of horse racing is incredibly rich with big data, and the visual representation of that data on the screen is paramount to a successful broadcast.
Pioneering this shift in the industry with a lens to make it sustainable for the future, but that also accounts for a more entertaining digital broadcast, is Discover Digital. Discover Digital is a dynamic technology business with decades of experience that offers a full suite of production and content services, as well as a fully enabled platform to allow organizations to move seamlessly to the digital space.
For one project, they needed to streamline and modernize how the data is being displayed for audiences on-screen. All the various data sources to be tracked and displayed include horse owner, trainer, rider, and historical race information, plus live betting data and GPS tracking information with various sponsors – it quickly gets complicated. Discover Digital wanted to elevate the display data to a better visual representation in a neat, modern, and engaging way.
“Our first port-of-call was to get a hold of Vizrt as the leader in on-screen graphics and visual data representation. We knew Vizrt would be able to help us integrate these various data sources in a really professional and slick on-air presentation, bringing a fresh look to horse racing coverage in South Africa,” stated Brendan Marsay, Managing Director of Discover Digital and Executive Head of Technology at EFX Productions.
“We’re going to be using on-field augmented reality to be triggered by the Viz Arc system. This workflow gives us the opportunity to digitally brand the track rather than having to reprint banners and billboards for every different sponsor, for every different race. With the flexibility of the Viz Arc solution, we also can attract new types of sponsors to the sport, which is vital for sustainability.”
“Our races happen over many venues across the country, but our Viz Vectar and Viz Vectar Plus products give us one hundred percent IP workflows across the various venues without issue. We also have our entire production in the cloud for further flexibility and control,” Marsay added.
“We have five different venues around the country, aggregating all of our content in a cloud-based environment and then correlating that into a channel for 24/7 broadcasts on a cloud-based solution makes a mammoth amount of sense. We don’t need to reticulate those venues back to a central hub. Each venue breaks out into effectively open internet, runs to our cloud-based channel player facility, and we play out the graphics in the cloud. We’ve actually eliminated the need for graphics operators at every venue,” Marsay noted.
“The channel playout system definitely works fantastically in the cloud, and then we can’t forget the added automation from Vizrt as well. Automating our 24/7 channel saves us a huge amount of staffing hours. We don’t need somebody sitting in a control room 24/7. We just need a skilled operator who can sit at home, sit on a laptop, create the rundowns and then the system looks after itself, which is such a big benefit of using Vizrt solutions.”
The IP workflow adopted by Discover Digital brings the company’s ICT and broadcast division closer together, which also facilitates a significant cost saving across the departments. Leveraging software-defined visual storytelling solutions means Discover Digital is always using the latest technology which helps them keep a lower carbon footprint. Due to the success of the initial relationship with Vizrt, Discover Digital is looking to adopt more technology and move more of its workflows into the cloud in the future.
Watch Discover Digital’s testimonial video clip below for more details on the project.
These projects would not have been possible without the assistance and expertise provided by the Vizrt South Asia team and our valued partner, Quodes Media.
“We are the first line of support, and we work closely with Vizrt as the second line support for our clients in the region,” said Eric Bruggemans, Managing Director of Quodes Media. “Our certified designer and programmer is a previous Vizrt employee. He’s been integral in supporting the leading companies in the region for the past ten years, including SuperSport and Seb4Vision, the biggest graphics services and production companies in the African market,” Bruggenmans added.
Quodes Media partnered with Digital Discover to design its on-air graphics to enhance its visualization. Quodes utilized Vizrt products, as well as developed a platform to integrate API-powered live data to populate into the on-air graphics.