Sky Sports Germany uses StarTracker for Champions League final

Sep 03, 2019

Sky Sports Germany uses StarTracker for Champions League final

For the first time, as part of Sky’s coverage of the second round of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, PLAZAMEDIA is facilitating two “StarTrackers” in their studio for Augmented Reality and green screen productions. The newly purchased, innovative systems render the common elaborate camera alignment procedure for every background graphic a thing of the past. Elements like video walls, 3D-collages, scenes of the game, social media inserts or virtual pitch inserts for match break-down can now be effortlessly synced with the live action in the studio. The full automatic optical tracking system makes the manual adjusting of the camera, using fixed markers on the floor for each and every graphic insert, obsolete. No more fine-adjusting and compensating for mechanical drift.

Alessandro Reitano, Director of Sports Production Sky Germany, explains: “Virtual graphics are an important and challenging field, that is full of opportunities. The purchase of two StarTrackers allows PLAZAMEDIA to offer Sky a system that boosts the quality and usage of virtual graphics, and opens up many new possibilities. On the back of that technology Sky is able to integrate more sophisticated and enticing graphics in the future. It is extremely helpful to work with a company like Plazamedia, who with its production expertise always paves the way for innovative technology.

Joachim Wildt, CEO Plazamedia, comments: In the crucial phase of the Champions League it’s always the result that counts, also on the technical side. PLAZAMEDIA is always concerned to offer its clients the highest standard on the market. For us it’s important that the technologies guarantee faultless systems with high production reliability and a high standard for the editorial and production team. With StarTracker we have made a huge leap in the right direction. Now tracking is what it should be, an automatic and reliable process running in the background. We are happy to further the use and quality of virtual graphics together with our customer Sky.

The innovative system was first used for the semi-final match on 12th of May, when FC Bayern Munich welcomed FC Barcelona to the Allianz Arena. StarTracker replaces two BallTracker systems and provides an absolute, optical and efficient camera tracking solution for AR and VR. The system looks at unobtrusive retroreflective discs that are stuck to the studio ceiling. It computes the position of the camera in realtime so it can be seamlessly synced to the live action in the studio. Manual camera alignment with physical markers on the floor for every graphic insert is no longer needed. The system knows without any further adjusting where in the room the camera is at all time. As a result StarTracker offers a simpler workflow with higher production reliability and opens the door for advanced Augmented reality and graphics.

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