Weather Network Chooses Vizrt Graphics for 3D Animated Graphics

February 14, 2006

by -- The Weather Network

Canada’s leading source for weather forecasts on cable and satellite TV, The Weather Network (TWN), has purchased Vizrt’s Viz|Trio™ real-time 3D character generation and graphics system to enhance the look of its 24-hour network with live, 3D animated graphics. A thriving 24-hour network reaching over 8,000,000 Canadian homes, TWN had outgrown its Mississauga facility and recently moved to a more spacious location in Oakville, both suburbs of Toronto. The addition of the Vizrt Viz|Trio software was part of that facility upgrade.

“The move offered us an opportunity to enhance our on-air look with real-time 2D/3D graphics, including over-the-shoulder and full-screen displays,” said Kiko Grusecki, director of broadcast operations for TWN, which is owned by Pelmorex, Inc., a leading provider of weather-related products and services in Canada.

“In evaluating the leading CG systems on the market, we found that Vizrt was one of only two manufacturers that offered ‘true 3D’ capability. And of the two, the graphics solution from Vizrt was a better fit for us because it was very powerful and also user-friendly,” added Grusecki. “With the system’s template-driven architecture, we felt strongly that the Viz|Trio would allow us to create far more striking and sophisticated graphics in a very automated and efficient manner.”

TWN purchased a dual-channel Viz|Trio CG, along with an optional DVE and Clips System providing two internal 2D DVEs and two internal DV25 codecs for replay of recorded video clips. TWN also purchased one seat of Viz|Artist, the companion 3D animation software for graphic design.

In December 2005, TWN began using Viz|Trio to deliver still images to air, with its in-house graphics team creating the templates and establishing the channel’s broadcast look. By mid-January 2006, the system was fully operational, delivering 3D animated graphics live to air.

“Once templates have been created for such commonly used graphics as daily temperature and forecast displays, anyone on our news and production teams can access the desired elements from our central database and quickly generate the enormous volume of visually complex graphics we need in an automated manner, without any rendering,” said Grusecki.

In a breaking news situation like a tornado warning, elements such as a 3D tornado, 3D map, and 3D text can be composited in real-time using pre-created elements to give viewers a true understanding of the forecast. Templates also enable TWN to quickly insert photographs or live video shots of reporters from its bi-coastal bureaus, in Vancouver and Halifax, into live, 3D graphics, without tying up the production switcher and DVE in the control room.

“Our control room is manned by two people who wear many hats. Our producer must operate the Viz|Trio while overseeing the entire production. This makes the CG’s easy, push-button operation a real asset for us. We also have a technical director who operates the video switcher, audio mixer, and two robotic studio cameras on our co-anchor team,” said Grusecki. “For a streamlined operation like ours, automation of the entire process—from graphics design to delivery—is absolutely critical.”

“Vizrt’s Viz|Trio and Viz|Artist solutions provide true, realtime 3D and 2D graphics and animation tools that enable TWN to efficiently create accurate weather graphics for the Canadian viewers,” said Aldo Campisi, senior graphics application specialist for Vizrt, in Miami, FL, and a former employee of TWN, in Toronto.





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