Delivering content at the “speed of news” relies heavily on real time graphics that can instantly convey complex data as easy to understand information.
Everyday examples of this are sports, traffic, weather, stocks, elections and social media. There is simply not enough time to create “made to order” graphics on the spot using post-production or 3D authoring tools. Real time graphics follow the “create once, deploy many” paradigm using versatile data driven templates that can instantly transform to portray the desired information.
Creating a real time graphics template is different than post-production graphics as the design concept must anticipate the many instances and possibilities the resulting graphics can provide. With powerful real time graphics authoring environments, like Wasp3D’s Drone Designer, how the resulting graphics behave can be observed as it is rendered in real time.
Post-production graphics are rendered to a resulting motion graphics file following a “create once, deploy once” as the content is fixed as rendered and does not change. Though post-production content can be combined with other visuals to refresh a presentation, the content itself is the same.
The data driven, real time graphics can be controlled manually via parameters or automatically from various data feeds (i.e. weather data, financial data, social media, etc.) and the output is presented via a real time graphics engine as instant visuals and not as a file. Though this output can be saved to a file, it is no longer real time graphics.
A real time graphics workflow can address collaborative workgroups to provide producers and journalists a library of templates that can be quickly adapted “on the fly” to a specific, breaking news story. These templates can ingest existing media assets and integrate with Newsroom automation systems to provide a graphics workflow that addresses the needs of a small station to a large network of stations.
What is a real time graphics template?
Real time templates are by definition dynamic and can literally be used in any type of presentation; be it simple lower third labeling and reporting to complex augmented reality presentations in elections. Depending on the complexity of the content to be displayed, a template can have multiple scenes and many instances of data ingest & manipulation. A template can host situational “equations” to present information through a variety of scenes following a “if these conditions are met, then information would best be presented in this or that other way”. For example, in elections, once a specific threshold is met (i.e. so many votes would yield so many seats in the senate), then a different graphical scene is displayed as the dynamics of the presentations have changed.
A graphics designer seeking an efficient template design will anticipate how data will be transformed into visual information and how easily it will be for the operator to use the same template for different situations or data following the “deploy many” paradigm. To this effect, authoring in Wasp3D generates custom control forms that are specific to the scene which will be displayed. These custom forms will be available to the operator from the playlist where the parameters and/or data can be changed at will.
Once a graphics template is created, it resides in a central database, ready to be triggered for execution in the real time graphics engine. An operator on a playout control module can load a template and its corresponding scenes (i.e. a weather template with different scenes for forecast, current conditions, radar, etc.). Depending on the design of the template, scenes may be triggered manually by the operator or by an automated process.
When a scene is triggered, the real time graphic engine evaluates any entries or data from the custom control form, fetches any corresponding data feeds and loads any applicable rules or parameters, to then execute the graphic generation sequence contained in the template. In addition, the process identifies how transitions occur between scenes and when reaching predetermined thresholds or events.
In its simplest form, all these processes can be contained in a single machine where in a typical news production environment, many people (i.e. producers, engineers, journalists) may collaborate to provide the necessary “data” for the template to present information from their perspective.
The real time graphics workflow for television stations integrates information from news feeds, news room automation systems, social media, financial data, sports scores, etc. and the corresponding templates can receive inputs from a variety of collaborators from different departments.
What hardware is needed for Real time graphics?
Wasp3D can run in a variety of Windows based computers but users of most high end gaming computers or graphics workstations will reap the greatest functionality. In rendering in Real time, there is only one speed, namely, real time. Maintaining real time is highly dependent on the complexity of the template and the data being fed to it. A simple template that runs in real time in a notebook will run exactly the same on a faster, more powerful specification. However, if the data being ingested requires greater analysis or yields more complex graphics, a more powerful specification may be required.
In a post-production system, a less powerful system will take longer to render a file, where a more powerful specification will be faster. In real time systems, a more powerful system will be able to execute more complex graphics.
In general, a gaming graphics processing unit (GPU) from ATI or Nvidia (i.e. GTX9800), a CPU 3 GHz or better and a fast drive are required for using Wasp3D. Depending on template design and complexity, real time can deteriorate to delayed frames once the hardware limitation is reached.
Real time graphics for schools.
Wasp3D offers their Community Edition (CE) as a free, personal learning license with all the functionalities of our real time design environment. This is not a “watered down” or “trial” version as it is functionally identical to our enterprise version used at leading television networks around the world. Community Edition (CE), offers the same creative tools for developing content for news, sports, contests and even augmented/virtual reality. In addition, Community Edition (CE) includes its own real time render engine in order to visualize and prototype data driven graphics.
Students wishing to learn real time graphics creation and delivery are often faced with having to learn “on the job” as state of the art real time authoring tools can cost as much as buying a new car. This obviously becomes a barrier to applying to jobs requiring advanced RT graphics or developing projects using templated real time graphics.
Wasp3D is partnering with schools & universities to develop a real time graphics training program as part of a Communications or Graphics curriculum at no cost to the school or the student. To this effect, Wasp3D would like to organize school specific forums and showcases where faculty can moderate and students can share their artistry. Through this "community", students can develop templates and graphics presentations that can be shared and even used on-air through a licensed Newtek Tricaster system or Caspar CG.
For more information, or to participate in the Community Edition free learning license program, visit their website by clicking here http://wasp3d.com/community_edition.html
Backed by over 20 years of experience in broadcast technology, Beehive Systems has developed the innovative products of the WASP3D end-to-end, real-time graphics production workflow to address the most demanding requirements in news storytelling of the Broadcast Industry. Regardless of the type presentation (live news, sports, elections, financial, etc.), Wasp3D’s collaborative, data-driven workflow simplifies the delivery of content.
Based entirely on Microsoft platforms Wasp3D has been designed as a scalable and open architecture that offers the same high end functionality whether it is for a single TV station or major network groups with national & international presence.
With hundreds of installations in more than 40 countries, Beehive Systems serves its clients through its offices in USA, UAE, South Africa, Singapore, India, Thailand and Mexico.