ABC sweeps across USA with StarTracker

ABC News covered the 2018 US midterm election with a custom-made 360-degree stage — complete with an interactive, augmented-reality (AR) experience which utilized our real-time camera tracking system, StarTracker.

As the election results were coming in, ABC could use AR with 3D images of the U.S. Capital to give a live voting update. Thanks to the precisions and robust quality of StarTracker, the presenter could be fully immersed within the House of Representatives and Senate, even with constant changes to light in the studio.

“The goal was to create a set that both the viewer and the presenters so could understand visually a very important election,” Hal Aronow-Theil, Creative Director at ABC News.

It took the ABC news team a whole year of planning, brainstorming, designing and programming to get the augmented reality coverage to come together. Using our StarTracker and high-quality graphics from Vizrt, the ABC news coverage featured a large number of AR pieces throughout the evening, featuring real-time data visualization, maps, and a 3D model of the U.S. Capitol.

There’s great potential for creative, interactive storytelling to help the viewer better understand complex information,” said Tamar Gargle, ABC News Director of Graphics Operations.

This is not the first time StarTracker was chosen for a live election night. The BBC have repeatedly selected our system for their coverage of the UK General Election and the EU Referendum; with Jeremy Vine famously walking through an augmented version of the house of commons with live voting results being displayed.  

For ABC News they have been experimenting with AR and our real-time camera tracking system for a while now. StarTracker was used to incorporate AR into their live coverage of the British royal wedding earlier this year. Furthermore, StarTracker was also used on  ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ programme for its first true AR medical story about heart disease this past spring.

“Where we would normally cut away to a 3D animation of clogged arteries, Dr. Jen Ashton was able to interact in the studio with a three dimensional AR heart to help the viewer better understand heart disease,” according to Aronow-Theil and Gargle.