Shanghai Media Group Technical Center (SMT) enhanced the viewing experience of millions of soccer fans across China during its live broadcast of EURO 2020, generating 11 CG recreations of iconic European landmarks. Transporting viewers to the heart of the action across key European cities was made possible with the power of Pixotope and UE4. The software was also used to create engaging, on-screen augmented reality graphics during presenter segments.
The landmarks themselves were all initially designed in the Unreal Engine before being imported into Pixotope to be finalised and then broadcast live across China. To provide an all-encompassing overview of the European Championship, SMT created one scaled-down map of Europe, highlighting key landmarks that included London’s Tower Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, Munich’s Frauenkirche, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, uniting the content with engaging viewing.
European soccer has become a huge spectacle for fans across Asia, with millions passionately supporting their chosen team across multiple championships, including the Premier League. Utilizing Pixotope’s next-level real-time graphics, SMT brought viewers closer to the action than ever before thanks to exciting visual additions to broadcasted content.
Engaging on-screen entertainment
In addition to the CG landmarks, the Shanghai Media Group Technical Center also created expansive, on-screen AR graphics that filled the presenter’s studio space. These graphics integrated the landmarks relevant by location, beaming them into the match being broadcasted and played in the background, with a mixture of grass and other textures covering the studio floor to simulate standing on the pitch.
With viewership in its millions, Pixotope’s AR technology also extended advertising opportunities, enabling sponsors to create visual offerings of products that presenters interacted with during the broadcast. For example, a digital recreation of a Volvo XC60 SUV – generated using Pixotope – was animated to rise out of the floor and be displayed on a 360-degree turntable during various segments of the coverage.
Lihua Gu. Director of SMT Mix Reality Studio said: “This was our first experience utilising all aspects of Pixotope for broadcasting delivery. Pixotope is very convenient, the producers don’t need to master too many additional skills and can instead focus on the creative, with the software accurately producing the effect that the designer wants. Any issues we encountered during production were solved by Pixotope’s engineers, with some even traveling to our location to ensure everything worked correctly and offer that next level of personalised service”.
Marcus B. Brodersen, CEO at Pixotope said: “Real-time augmented reality provides exciting opportunities to broadcasters covering live sports to engage with viewers in unique and creative ways. SMT’s production of EURO 2020 has shown that Pixotope and the Unreal Engine can be used to help bridge international viewership during global sporting events by capturing the unique aesthetic qualities of different locations and cultures. As the demand for European soccer continues to rise in Asia, these sorts of broadcast applications will become increasingly important to viewers wanting real and immersive experiences in multiple locations.”