SuperTennis, VR and AR

SuperTennis, the television channel of the Italian Tennis Federation, is visible in the satellite bouquet of SKY Italia on channel 224 and free to air in the national DTT mux and on the number 30 of TVSat, on channel 64; on the streaming web channel it is available on

The tv production studies in Rome, from which the transmissions are aired, are often employing virtual reality and augmented reality, but, contrary to what one might think, it is not just a matter of show.

Alfredo Nardoni, Production Director, gives us some details.
"First of all it is good to underline that SuperTennis in studio transmissions often uses a mix of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
The main reason for this choice is that our commitment is aimed at integrating the best technologies to support spectacularity, but above all of information, in the most general sense.
In fact, we offer the viewer a more complete enjoyment thanks to the presence of advanced integrated AR and VR graphics, rather than simple billboards with more or less beautiful 2D and 3D captions as in traditional graphics.
It is undoubtedly a leap forward for the understanding of stories and concepts and not just aesthetic.
In general, the graphic notions supporting the typical image of the talent or the journalist or commentator in the studio contribute to increase the degree of empathy of the viewer and make the story clearer, reaffirming certain concepts and making them immediately visible.
Virtual reality and augmented reality bring this process to an even higher level.
Often, rather than simply commenting on a sporting event that we sometimes do not hold the live broadcast rights, we devote ourselves to in-depth analysis thanks to a journalist on site that describes what happens before, during and after a match.
So we propose a channel full of insights that are highly appreciated by our audience, rather prepared one.
It is good to emphasize, in fact, that the SuperTennis audience is largely well informed and therefore appreciates the insights that must be journalistically balanced and correct and from the point of view of the image very likely and carefully realized.
On the one hand, virtual reality allows us to create synthetic worlds that propose always different backgrounds to make a studio transmission more attractive and different.
On the other hand, augmented reality allows us a language in the story really different and more complete and, why not, even more spectacular.
Here talents or commentators can move and walk in the studio while they are followed by 4 Panasonic cameras.
Of these, three are remotely operated and perform tight and "static" shootings of the two journalists or studio talent, usually at least two; a third one proposes larger images in "Beauty" style in soccer.
The fourth camera attached to augmented reality is positioned on a Ross dolly and moves elegantly, creating dynamic shots synchronized with the on purpose equipments, the graphic computers that create objects and virtual backgrounds.
The production gallery is composed of a video by ROSS, camera remotes by Panasonic, dolly remote by ROSS, audio mixer by Yamaha, Newsroom by DALET, Brainstorm graphics.
We use this mix practically everywhere and also in the recent Next Gen ATP Final, international BNL Italy.
The studio is 55 square meters wide, 25 of which are covered by a ledwall and the rest is a special background just for the virtual reality that allows us to "invent more studios in the same studio".
The journalist faces the virtual part and interacts live "triggering" interactive graphic contents - that is augmented reality - that created from scratch, come out of the floor and walls.
This process can be considered as a natural evolution of the chroma key but with 3D content.
The graphic engine that makes these games possible is Brainstorm that we have chosen for the operating interface, costs and ease of management.
We can create 2D and 3D virtual scenes and objects with peace of mind in After Effects and then import all the projects that create the various necessary VR and AR scenery."