During broadcast coverage of the 118th U.S. Open Championship, 10 holes had Fox FlightTrack - a live trace over a graphic representation of the golf hole. ARL's Virtual Eye is the system at the core of FlightTrack, which takes a 3D model of a hole and uses shot data from SMT as well as from the Trackman and Top Tracer shot-tracking systems to show the ball flight within the 3D model. The Virtual Eye production team began its U.S. Open preparation a couple of months back, flying a plane over the course and capturing photos to map the topography. Then, a few weeks ago, a helicopter shot video of the course, and pictures were extracted from the video and laid over the topographical images.
One of the goals, says Ben Taylor, operations manager for Virtual Eye, has been to make the system more automated and to allow it to be used on taped shots. For example, the EVS-replay users themselves can now trigger Virtual Eye to be active with the push of a button. And, when the ball comes to a rest, the graphic slides off the screen. "The system will reset in the background after the shot," said Taylor.
Zac Fields, SVP of Graphic Tech and Innovation at Fox Sports, has been happy with the performance, particularly the ability for EVS operators to control the graphic overlay. "It’s pretty slick," he says. "The system takes the EVS feed and runs it through the graphics compositor and then back into the EVS, so the EVS system is recording itself."
The Virtual Eye team at Shinnecock Hills GC
Ben Taylor operating the Virtual Eye system
Jordan Spieth on the 3rd, with FlightTrack
Dustin Johnson on the 3rd, with FlightTrack
Tiger Woods on the 3rd, with FlightTrack