NEP brings Extreme E to the next level
Hilversum, 12 April 2021In a unique and never-seen-before approach to Broadcast Graphics, NEP is helping Extreme E – the electric off-road racing series – to raise awareness about the effects of climate change. Danny Koelewijn, Project Manager, and Jeen Visser, Technical Artist, at media technology company NEP, are very proud of their involvement in Extreme E, working with host broadcasters Aurora Media Worldwide and North One. The first X Prix in the five-race series, which took place in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, was broadcasted this weekend all over the world, including on commercial broadcaster RTL7 in The Netherlands.
Extreme E is an all-electric off-road racing series designed to highlight the climate crisis. The racing series will happen throughout the year highlighting some of the world’s most remote locations and harshest environments, including Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Patagonia.
The racing series is designed to bring attention to climate change, the use of sustainable, all-electric vehicles, and provide audiences with a spectacular event. In Greenland for example, they will race at the foot of a melting glacier. And in Brazil the rapidly-depleting rainforest will be the backdrop for the race.
Extreme E is broadcast live in 180 countries around the world. The production was led by London headquartered Aurora Media Worldwide in collaboration with North One, who approached NEP’s team in the UK for a broadcast solution. NEP’s team in the UK reached out to their colleagues in The Netherlands to create a cutting-edge AR and Graphics solution. NEP The Netherlands Project Manager Danny Koelewijn: “We’ve invited them to our Ziggo Sport-studio in Hilversum to show what we can do with Augmented Reality (AR), Motion Graphics, and processing live data. That’s how it all started. We developed some concepts from scratch and eventually we worked a year long remotely with fifteen talents at full speed and have created an entirely new concept together!”
Jeen Visser, who took care of the connection between the graphics and the technical part as a Technical Artist: “It was quite a big puzzle for us how to process all the data in the AR or virtual environment. The fact that we got it working perfectly and steadily, was a relief and a victory for us. Bringing the designs to life like we did for this project, is not yet done before. It looks a bit like a game, in combination with positional data that is generated from Google Earth. We can import that data and translate it to a new virtual world, which we enrich with race analyses.”
Using a specialty IP flypack, over 30 signals are sent via satellite to NEP’s brand new production facility in London. Via glass fibre the signals are sent to NEP’s LiveCenter in Hilversum where the ‘Graphics Add-on’ is added and then the images are sent back to London, where they are distributed worldwide. Koelewijn: “CO2-neutral, remote and COVID-proof, which really suits this project of course.”
All potential data that can improve the experience of the audience, are processed graphically by NEP. Inside information that the driver him/herself doesn’t see, drone images, a 3D ‘animation explainer’ of the car, a ‘hit system’ that follows the driver, the race fans are really drawn into the races. “We’ve built a virtual 3D world based on the race locations and their GPS-data”, Koelewijn summarizes. “In this way, the director is able to switch live during the race to a ‘gamey look & feel’ to enhance the story.”
“We’re dealing with an event where things can change very last minute, so we had to build a dynamic system that could take these changes into account”, Visser adds. “It’s been an iterative project, with very good results. Aurora Media Worldwide was very enthusiastic about the first event. We look forward to continuing the series with them, and hope to work with them on projects in the future.”
About Aurora Media Worldwide
Established in 2012, Aurora Media Worldwide is a multi award-winning, fully integrated content agency, developing, producing, and distributing original content and programming for international rights holders, broadcasters, and brands. Headquartered in London, Aurora Media Worldwide’s clients include Formula E, Extreme E, Goodwood, Six Day Cycling, Jaguar and Porsche, with output across the world’s major broadcasters including ITV, Sky, Eurosport, FOX, Supersport, Globo, ProSiebenSat.1.