NHRA Instant Replay Graphic

Introduction

SMT is an entertainment and sports broadcasting vendor that specializes in virtual advertisements, projected graphics, and camera tracking technology. While working as an intern for the creative and broadcast departments I developed new concepts and graphics.

The NHRA, one of SMT's primary clients, needed a graphic capable of highlighting specific data points during a race. My process began with simple sketches and ended with a working graphic that aired on Fox Sports 1.

Project Role


The Challenge

The NHRA requested a graphic that displays driver speed at four set locations. The graphic will appear during a slow motion instant replay. Given the nature of the cameras used for this shot, the graphic is unable to project directly on top of the asphalt.


Paper Mockups

Figure A. Sketching out prototypes

Plate Layout

I used a plate to organize the three main components of the drag race: elapsed time, speed, and distance.

Figure B. Plate Mockups

Problem Solving

My solution to the main problem was a system of distance markers displayed outside of the track. The four circular white lights on the plate each represent a different distance marker. In theory, the distance markers and coordinating plate lights will illuminate when a driver is near them. In other words, the lights will simultaneously turn blue when the driver is passing.

By simply placing the markers on a slanted line, equally spaced, and decreasing in size it gave a three-dimensional appearance. A transparent pointer will also help viewers see where the driver is on the track.

Figure C. Concept Illustration 1

Final Product

After finalizing the graphics appearance and plate layout I packaged the file into smaller pieces. This allowed the software developers to make the graphic functional. The final product was born using SMT's camera tracking technology paired with the visual seen below. Announcers were then able to use the graphic when explaining the details of the race and ultimately better the viewing experience.

Figure D. Live Broadcast Screenshot

Live Broadcast

Below is the first time that the graphic was used during an actual race. It aired on Fox Sports 1. This video does not include audio.


Reflection

This project forced me to acknowledge a perspective that I had not yet experienced as a designer. While focusing on both function and aesthetic, I also had to consider the television viewers and how they digest information. I thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration between the creative, broadcast, and computer engineering departments. They each allowed me to see the process from start to finish and better understand fields I am not always exposed to.

Viewing my graphic air on live television was an incredible feeling, but the ultimate reward was exposure to a broad scope of employees and skill sets.


Website design and content © 2018 Sean Christensen