Audience engagement has never been more crucial for sports and entertainment providers than in today’s digital age. With modern consumers favoring personalized, interactive experiences across digital platforms and devices, augmented reality (AR) is quickly emerging as a preferred storytelling tool in the live production community.
Ahead of this trend, the technology trailblazers at Quidich Innovation Labs, developed an innovative drone-based AR production solution to service a range of clients across sports and entertainment, from the Indian Premier League to the Men’s Hockey World Cup and beyond. Harnessing industry-standard hardware like the AJA KONA 4 video and audio I/O card, and GEN10 HD/SD sync generator in its system, the Mumbai, India-based outfit delivers memorable, interactive experiences for audiences that generate repeat business among clients.
“When we started Quidich, drone technology was relatively nascent and a rare commodity in India, with most aerial cinematography captured via helicopter. We saw an opportunity to use this technology to make live production from the sky much more affordable and efficient, and got down to business, developing drone systems to capture aerial footage of cities, arenas, stadiums and more,” shared Rahat Kulshreshtha, founder and CEO, Quidich. “Then AR technology emerged onto the scene, which we knew could add a whole new dimension to live production, and we saw our next big evolution.”
“Spatio,” the drone-based AR production solution that the team at Quidich developed, allows them to build graphics for live broadcast that can interact with the movement of drone cameras in the air. For each client production, cameras affixed to drones capture aerial footage in 1080i full HD, which is sent to a base station on the ground and then to a studio. There, the video footage is ingested into three workstations using AJA KONA cards, and fed through a Vizrt graphics system, where the Quidich team adds AR effects in real-time to enhance storytelling for the game. The final output is sent to the control room and then directly distributed to audiences across the globe. The AJA Software Development Kit (SDK) allows Spatio to integrate the output into its real-time workflow and the AJA GEN10 provides sync, so that all of the video signals can be genlocked.
Consistency is essential to all of Quidich’s productions, which can be challenging when they’re covering multiple matches simultaneously. “We’re often deploying multiple kit at the same time and pride ourselves in ensuring a quality standard,” added Kulshreshtha. “Our AJA gear has a large role to play in that; we can always count on it to keep our systems running smoothly and our production quality consistent even when working with different teams across wide ranging geographies.”
He concluded, “On top of these advantages, the AJA SDK is accessible and intuitive, which makes our day-to-day much easier, plus AJA’s support team is extremely reliable. They’re responsive and quick to resolve any issues in a timely fashion, and there’s nothing more valuable than that in the live production business.”
In 2021, Quidich also plans to up the level of quality of content it can deliver for clients with HDR production supported by an AJA FS-HDR real-time HDR/WCG converter.