Politics touches almost every aspects of our lives in some way. It is therefore no surprise that so many tune in to see live coverage of elections as votes roll in on Election Day. As the US mid-term elections begin, many TV stations are drawing on advanced technology to help viewers understand how the race is progressing.
ABC News will be covering the 2018 midterms by using a custom-made 360-degree stage as well as specialised augmented reality (AR) technology. A 360-degree behind-the-scenes tour of the set is also available to view on the ABC News Facebook page.
The AR content is said to have taken a full year of planning, designing and development, with an estimated 700-1000 hours devoted purely to data testing to ensure everything will be all right on the night.
The expansive and specialised set, meanwhile, too six months to design and build, and seven weeks to fully assemble in the studio. According to ABC News Senior Production Designer Seth Easter, the entire thing will be taken apart and put into storage only seven days after the conclusion of the election. “The goal was to create a set that both the viewer and the presenters … could understand visually [as depicting] a very important election,” he said.
ABC News Director of Graphics Operations Tamar Gargle and Creative Director Hal Aronow-Theil led the development of the AR experience that lets audiences watch ABC Experts on the set, while simultaneously learning about the election and the results tally in a visual way.
“There’s great potential for creative, interactive storytelling to help the viewer better understand complex information,” Gargle and Aronow-Theil explained. “We have had consultants from three vendors: Astucemedia, who are our graphics and creative consultants; Vizrt, for the graphics engines and graphics tracking; and Mo-Sys, the camera-tracking system,” Gargle added.
The ABC News coverage on the election will begin at 8pm on Tuesday 6th November, 2018. For future coverage on new AR content, keep checking back with VRFocus.