Tech Brief: Monday Baseball Rolls Out New Look

Jun 6, 2005  •  Post A Comment

When ESPN’s “Monday Night Baseball” makes its season debut tonight, it will do so with a new graphics package. The look will be similar to what the sports network rolled out a few months ago with “Sunday Night Baseball”-a 3-D feel to headshots and all major on-screen graphics, including the lineup breakdown at the start of each show, ESPN said.

The changes are part of a trend in sports graphics to produce a more cinematic, 3-D environment, said Nir Goshen, the creative director of Vizrt, which provides graphic tools that are being used by ESPN for its retooled baseball look.

In the past year several sports telecasts, including the NBA playoffs on ESPN and ABC Sports, have taken a page from the playbook of the movies when it comes to graphics and adding flashier movement.

“Generating graphics is getting better and more streamlined,” Mr. Goshen said. The spinning football helmets, flashes and explosions of today are the sorts of elements that are possible, thanks to advances in graphics technology. Graphics can be produced on desktop computers now, as opposed to the expensive Unix supercomputers of old.

“[Today’s graphics] are kind of shiny and glitzy, almost cinematic elements, inspired by what’s going on in the special effects industry, where everything almost has a realistic quality and the depth and the layers you see on the screen. … You never get bored seeing it because … there is something in the foreground and background keeping it alive.”