Major League Baseball 2017, British Summertime

Major League Baseball came to London as several former MLB stars played in a Home Run Derby Exhibition in Hyde Park. Experiential Agency, Imagination commissioned us to manage the d3 programming and screen content. It soon became clear the team needed to develop a unique live scoring system - made possible using d3 gx media servers and Notch.

It was a welcome challenge for us, as we had recently invested in both the gX1 & gX2 range servers. The racks, come complete with Notch Playback – a powerful software license that allows users to create, simulate, render, composite, edit and play-back in real-time. Functionality that was essential to creating the live scoreboard content for the MLB Show.

The scoreboard needed to display data generated by the MLB scoring system which also had live data fed into it from a radar ball tracking system, similar to the technology that is used at other sporting events. The system predicts the distance and landing area by tracking the speed and direction of the ball. To overcome the resolution constraints of the conventional 1920 x 1080 pixel display broadcast system, Notch was chosen to produce the live graphics as the screen was approx 10k pixels wide – there was no other system that could achieve the necessary resolution. To interpret the data from MLB, a custom piece of middleware had to be created to that repackaged the data into a compatible data stream. Using Notch, the team developed a unique, resolution independent, scoring system that allowed the data from the existing system to be live rendered onto the screen. Two systems were installed -one for the main screen and another for the OB truck. Both systems used the same backend but were reformatted for live streaming to the internet.

 

In the past, to bring data metrics onto the stage/sports ground would require a totally bespoke solution with significant programmer effort.  The Notch web interface – a web API that allows third party applications and web developers to be able to code and pass information into Notch, allows the use and integration of technologies that web developers are already used to. Notch is a content generation tool that is application non-specific and allows sophisticated animation in real time. The users creativity and imagination are the only limitations, as the applications are endless.

d3 and Notch have become significant tools in our arsenal.  In addition to the Major League Baseball event, we used the d3 servers in the programming of several shows for British Summer Time; Tove Lo and Elbow. The d3 GX server/Notch application is an obvious choice for music stage shows and a powerful showcase for the creative possibilities of the technology, but the potential outside of the music industry is significant.