Major Investment in State-of-the-Art Charlotte Studio Sets Standard for Video and Graphic Capabilities
Fortnite Creator’s Unreal Engine Technology Powers Graphics

CHARLOTTE – Today, FOX Sports announces a major investment in its Charlotte studio capabilities, outfitting its facility with a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose virtual studio set. The ultra-customizable 60’ x 60’ facility allows for instant 3D analysis of racetracks, cars, race shops and more, with the ability to create unique and changeable spaces within the high-tech studio environment in a matter of hours.

The new set debuts in February 2019 as home to NASCAR Race Hub, the most-watched NASCAR news and information program, NASCAR RaceDay and other NASCAR programming.

“Innovation and ‘what’s next’ thinking have defined the FOX Sports approach from Day 1,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “Working with industry leaders and integrating cutting-edge technology has produced one of the most advanced studios in sports. We are extremely excited to show it off early next year as we get viewers ready for the 2019 Daytona 500 on FOX.”

For an early look at FOX Sports virtual studio capabilities:

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the technology behind the mega-popular online video game Fortnite, powers graphic elements for the new studio. Unreal Engine is a complete suite of tools that empowers creators to bring real-time, high-fidelity experiences to PC, console, mobile, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms.

“Unreal Engine gives new meaning to photorealism for real-time renderers,” said Zac Fields, FOX Sports SVP Graphic Tech and Integration. “Being able to blend AR and 3D graphics better than ever before offers us the ability to deliver a seamless transition from the virtual set into the 3D world.”
Production technology elements for the virtual set:

  • Graphic elements powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine technology
  • The use of set dynamics to tell stories, as the set can transform into remote locations, bringing the location to the FOX Sports studio instead of taking the studio to the location
  • 5 Stype Red Spy encoded cameras, including 1 Steadicam and 1 jib
  • Zero Density studio software, including the most advanced keying features possible on a virtual set. The keying will make use of a 50’ x 47’ green screen area, while maintaining the ability to shoot 360 degrees
  • 3D tracking technology from Blacktrax used to automatically trigger events on the set; whether it’s automated lighting following an analyst on set or augmented reality (AR) being activated by an analyst, this technology opens the door for unique storytelling opportunities
  • Real-time AR using a combination of set elements and 3D graphics (i.e., raising a race car up through the floor or changing the content that texturizes the set)
  • FOX Sports integrating its own custom production workflows, allowing for content to be populated/changed within the virtual set instantaneously

FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century Fox’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes, FOX Sports App and FOX Sports GO. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.