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The Super Election Year

Posted on Jun 28, 2024 by FEED Staff

The bar charts and swingometers of elections past have long since evolved. Here’s how to make the most of graphics for storytelling – in a year that’s set to be the biggest yet for election coverage

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This is not just a big year for sports (with Euro 2024 and the Olympics), it’s also the largest election year in history – with more than 50 countries, or half the global population, heading to the polls. One that most, if not all, broadcasters will be focusing on is, of course, the US presidential election in November. 

Journalists and technical teams will often discuss how elections are challenging to produce, but there is also nothing quite like the rush when the best-laid plans end up executed without a hitch. 

“Vizrt has always acted as a partner both before and during elections,” introduces Gerhard Lang, CTO of Vizrt. “Our customers’ success is our success – and we aim to ensure that using our systems doesn’t add to the network’s existing stress.

“We gather information well in advance to understand the specific needs of every customer, allowing us to plan for remote or on-site support during set-up and production.

“This includes providing specialists in automation, graphic experts and professionals adept at setting up and maintaining XR environments, encompassing all the components involved in such productions.”

Lang highlights how, on top of all that, Vizrt works to support broadcasters in realising new ideas that can set them apart.

“Our collaboration with the late David Bohrman is one excellent example, as concepts such as the hologram became a reality during election coverage.”

Intelligent storytelling

AI is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts now, especially with the upcoming elections. AI will permeate the technology used by broadcasters throughout the entire production chain for their live shows.

“We employ AI to improve the visual quality of the graphics and compositions produced by Vizrt systems,” emphasises Lang. “DLSS and reflections are direct applications for AI. Machine-learning algorithms can predict election results based on historical data, current polls and demographic information too.”

However, AI’s cultural impact also brings risks. Recent demonstrations by OpenAI’s Sora have introduced fake videos to the list of potentially false and misleading media voters might encounter. 

The Gen Z vote

The traditional big broadcast on your 4K TV now faces a new challenge: Gen Z viewers, who primarily use devices and apps such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. Connecting with these young and valuable voters will be an experimental aspect of this year’s election coverage.

“Broadcasters need to think about creating content that is specifically tailored for these platforms, utilising their unique features and formats,” suggests Lang. 

“Produce short, engaging videos that quickly convey information. Gen Z prefers bite-sized content that they can consume on the go. Be genuine and transparent in your messaging. Gen Z values authenticity and can easily detect insincerity. Highlight behind-the-scenes content and real stories to build trust.”

Lang also notes the value of encouraging interaction ’through polls, Q&A sessions, live streams and user-generated content’.

Ultimately, it’s important to ensure that technology is not being deployed for technology’s sake, but rather as a valuable tool to complement and elevate storytelling at every stage.

To learn more about Vizrt’s election tech for all, head to vizrt.com

This feature was first published in the Summer 2024 issue of FEED.

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