News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery : Virtual Eye raises sports broadcasting bar to new heights

Virtual Eye raises sports broadcasting bar to new heights

'Visitors to the race village at the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur watch the virtual broadcast of the racing.'    Bob Greiser/Outside Images    Click Here to view large photo

The fledgling Louis Vuitton Trophy, sailed at Nice Cote d'Azur has been notable for the huge advance made in the live coverage of sailing, and sports broadcasting generally. Combining a mix of graphics, video and audio feeds the product from New Zealand's ground breaking Animation Research Limited, the live feed is both cost effective, very informative and entertaining.

The fact that the regatta, so far, has been sailed in very light winds - the bane of regular sailing TV producers - and a sure audience turn-off has been a test of fire for the new production.

Are the days numbered of a fleet of camera boats, a flock of helicopters carrying expensive gyroscopic TV lenses, and a small city of prefabricated huts aka the International Broadcast Center?

Emirates Team NZ get the best of TFS at the start of the second match of the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy at Nice -  ARL Media?nid=63145   Click Here to view large photo
The feed from Nice has built nicely on the inaugural broadcast at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series where the broadcast for the whole three weeks of the regatta employed just one landbased camera and a sailbag full of GPS units, each about the size of a small paperback, and attached to the competitors and racing marks.

The rest of the broadcast was pulled together in a lunchroom in the Emirates Team New Zealand base, which also doubled as a shore based studio.

Since 1992 computer animated graphics have greatly augmented the live television coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cup. The graphics clearly illustrate details like distance between the yachts or time to the laylines in ways that live video can’t.

Today, Virtual Eye added a new dimension to its coverage of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Nice Côte d’Azur: live audio commentary from the raceboats. Guest audio commentator Ross Blackman of New Zealand rode as 18th man aboard Emirates Team New Zealand and provided live commentary to the virtual broadcast.

'This is why yachting lends itself so well to technology,' said Ian Taylor, the Executive Producer of New Zealand-based Animation Research, Ltd.. 'With animation you can tell the story of how the race is progressing. Now, with live onboard commentary, the event can tell its own story.'

By building a local landscape for each venue, Virtual Eye have created a unique 'stadium' for each regatta. -  ARL Media?nid=63145   Click Here to view large photo
Play-by-play analysis is being provided by America’s Cup veteran Peter Lester of New Zealand, who’s in a studio watching the feed from off the water. The addition of Blackman’s onboard commentary takes viewers into the boat-on-boat action.

Blackman’s commentary added great insight during Team New Zealand’s match against Russia Synergy this morning, easily the most exciting match of the young regatta. The match featured an OCS and four lead changes, including one just 10 lengths from the finish when Team New Zealand rolled Synergy in its own private puff.

It also featured huge windshifts, which Blackman was able to talk viewers through as they happened.

'It was unbelievable. It was hero to zero and zero to hero,' said Blackman. 'One of the hardest things is giving a description of the action and not your opinion. You can’t hear the skipper and tactician and strategist talking, but you can see the instruments. So you can relate the live wind conditions. As a viewer that’s the sort of stuff you don’t normally get.'

Blackman’s commentary is being fed to the production studio via cellphone, and Taylor is quick to credit Louis Vuitton for allowing them to push the boundaries of live coverage. The coverage has been well received in the far reaches of the world.

Virtual Eye shows Bigamist 7 being chased to the finish of Race 8 in the Audi MedCup -  ARL Media?nid=63145   Click Here to view large photo
'The event sets a significant new benchmark in sailing with the first ever web broadcast using a mix of Virtual Eye and video, backed up with a superb commentary from Peter Lester and various media guests,' said Richard Gladwell, Editor of the Sail-World web site in New Zealand.

'While we are used to seeing this quality of broadcast on television, this standard is a first on the web, and one that runs without the usual stuttering reception that has been the bane of web broadcasting to date,' Gladwell said.

Taylor is so convinced that yachting is the perfect event for virtual broadcasts that he plans to present a paper at the World Yacht Racing Forum next month in Monaco stressing this point. He wants to see the rules relaxed to allow onboard commentary or microphones on the crewmembers to augment the virtual animation.

'In Formula 1 racing we can listen to Lewis Hamilton talking to his pit boss while going through a turn at 300 kilometers an hour and admire his skill in doing both things,' Taylor said. 'In sailing, we’d like to listen to the crewman up the mast. That’s dangerous up there. He’s more than 30 metres off the water. But what’s he saying to the skipper? We want to know, and so do our viewers. If yachting is going to gather an audience, it’s got to wire the guys onboard.'

You can see Virtual Eye for yourself at

Luna Rossa vs BMW Oracle Racing in the Quarter Final of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series as seen by Virtual Eye -  ARL Media?nid=63145   Click Here to view large photo

Emirates Team NZ force TFS to split away on the start of the second match of the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Trophy at Nice -  ARL Media?nid=63145   Click Here to view large photo

by Louis Vuitton Media and Sail-World


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

10:29 AM Tue 10 Nov 2009 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Louis Vuitton Trophy Series

Related News Stories:

28 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - Emirates Team NZ takes Last Waltz
28 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - BMW Oracle congratulates Team New Zealand
27 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - Chris Schmid images
27 Nov 2010  Emirates Team NZ makes Finals of the Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai
27 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai: Mascalzone Latino Audi Team bows out
27 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - Mascalzone Latino Audi Team out
27 Nov 2010  America's Cup family pay tribute from Dubai to Pike River miners
27 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai - BMW Oracle Racing reaches final
27 Nov 2010  Americans and Kiwis will race Louis Vuitton Trophy Dubai Finals
26 Nov 2010  Louis Vuitton Trophy in Dubai - Chris Schmid images

News - USA and the World

HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle

America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/, Auckland, NZ

Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),

2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia

Earth Day boater tips
Anna Tunnicliffe - from CrossFit to Extreme 40's
Charleston Race Week - Photos by Chris Howell
Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata
Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - PSP Logistics prepares for USA
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Crème of the crop to compete
Congressional Cup: Luna Rossa makes podium in first event
Int 14 World Championships 2015 launch new event website
International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2   
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3   
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video   
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June   
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions   
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20   
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
Melges 32 Sailing Series - Napoli action shots by Max Ranchi   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica launch new boat   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Switch Default Region to:

Social Media





New Zealand

United Kingdom

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World






Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text


Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery


Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery





Privacy Policy



Cookie Policy



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.