MLB Fans But Photoshopped

Baseball is back, but it will look a little different due to COVID. Empty stadiums and cardboard cutouts instead of fans. Though if you watch on Fox Sports you’ll see digitally rendered fans filling the entire stadium. Starting with this Saturday’s Yankee’s-National’s game. They’ll even be piping in fake fan audio, much like the Premier League and Sky, BT and the BBC did!

CGI Fans

All 30 MLB teams are relying on fake fan noise in the stadiums themselves. The audio is sourced from Sony’s MLB The Show games. The usual in stadium announcers, walk up music and other aspects of MLB games will be on show. While it is only Fox Sports who have announced virtual fans.

“We believe the crowd and seeing people in seats is part of a broadcast, is part of broadcasting high level sports in the major leagues. So we wanted to come up with a solution for that,” 

“We’re not looking to fool anybody, it’s still about the game. But shot-to-shot, when you’re watching a broadcast, it’s not more noticeable that you’re watching what is normally a broadcast with fans in just an empty stadium and having it feel weird — we want to give people a sense of normalcy,” Zager says. “And we felt like going down this path and trying to use a virtual crowd will hopefully make it so that blends in, and you can focus on the game more because you’re not thinking about the emptiness of a Major League Baseball stadium during the game.” Brad Zager, executive producer and head of production and operations at Fox Sports.

MLB Fake Fans – How It’s Done

The effect is a great combination of augmented reality software. Which is used to insert the crowds, this is called Pixotope. This has been used for AR graphics for the Super Bowl for example.

The way it works is by leveraging graphics which are created by Silver Spoon animation agency. Which is built in Epic’s Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is used here in the same way that it would for video games or for crafting on-set backgrounds for shows like The Mandalorian. What makes Unreal Engine better from the rest is that it can render in real time, making it suitable for live tv.

While SportsMedia Technology, they are the ones who portray sports centric computer overlays for things such as the screen clock and sportsboard. They will handle the camera tracking to insert graphics on to the live camera feeds. Four cameras located at the following points on a baseball field. High home, centerfield, high first, and high third cameras. This will show the fans.

Producer Control

The producers at Fox Sports will be able to control how the crowds are dressed. Based on the weather for example, they can also account for the percentage of home and away fans. Though they’re currently working out how to make these decisions.

 “We’re figuring this out right now, and we’ll continue to evolve that process as we go through this weekend and from game-to-game, week-to-week,” Brad Zager.

The broadcasts will also integrate fake fan audio being played in the stadium in the background of microphone clips from players, such as when they pitch. It’ll augment the live audio on it’s own end, similar to how the MLS games are being shown.

It’s rather basic now, such as boos and cheers. Though the company are hoping to integrate the two as it gets more practice over the season.

 “It’s something that we hope becomes even more collaborative and more on the same page as we do this more and more, being able to combine the audio and the crowd together.”

Currently it’s only available on MLB games on Fox, though it is possible that the digital fans could appear elsewhere. Zager says that they’re working with all of it’s sponsors “as we get closer to the fall for football and other sports, if we feel like it’s going in the right direction yet we will launch it and roll it out on other sports,” too.


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Europe From Above


Europe From Above _ Official Trailer – Elevate Your Perspective

Europe looks so different from above! National Geographic

Posted by How To Kill an Hour on Tuesday, 29 October 2019


National Geographic will give people an impressive aerial tour across Europe very soon! As part of a brand new six part series “Europe From Above” premiering on 10th November, we will get to see spectacular views, unique insights and a brand new perspective on Europe’s finest cultural and geographic landmarks.

Filmed over a course of a year, Europe From Above will explore in stunning visual detail, the culture, history, innovation and engineering feats which have shaped Europe. Viewers will get to witness what their favourite countries look like. Through the change of seasons, such as the tulip fields in Holland magically bursting into colour! Furthermore viewers will get to witness the cascading waterfalls at Italy’s Dolomites solidify into ice in seconds!

Each episode is focused on one distinct European country. As this awe-inspiring visual journey highlights and celebrates both natures creations and the human stories which contributed to how their modern nations look today.

Furthermore, viewers will be soaring over well known sites such as Spain’s unfinished Sagrada Familia. Also, the beautiful, historyic windmills and floating homes of the Netherlands and the UK’s Eden Project.

Also, witness incredible views of a tropical resort from within a disused airship hangar in Germany, the largest castle in the world in Poland and an ice-track in Italy.

Europe From Above Episodes:


Europe From Above: United Kingdom

Premieres Sunday 10th November at 9pm

This spectacular aerial journey reveals the United Kingdom, as we’ve never seen it before. Flying cameras soar over the Giant’s Causeway as jet-ski litter pickers tidy up the coast. Daredevil gardeners handle chainsaws while hanging from the Eden Project roof. Glide through the London skyline as one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers gets a spring clean.

Europe From Above: Italy

Premieres Sunday 17th November at 9pm

Cameras swoop over the treasures of ancient Rome, fly alongside dredger in Venice and get a bird’s eye view of Sicily’s ladder top fishermen.  We look down on daring scientists as they climb Italy’s Etna volcano, we see bizarre vibrating forks at work in Puglia’s olive groves. Race around an ice track in the high Alps at the world’s strangest supercar school.

Europe From Above: Germany

Premieres Sunday 24th November at 9pm

Hover over a factory the size of a city, fly alongside a record-breaking cable car and get a bird’s eye view of the largest land vehicle on the planet. But this is a country with a quirky side. We’ll fly through a tropical resort inside a vast disused airship hangar. Tour 10 tiny islands where residents have their own personal trains.

Europe From Above: The Netherlands

Premieres Sunday 1st December at 9pm

This spectacular aerial journey reveals the innovations that made the Netherlands a technological powerhouse.  Flying high over historic windmills, futuristic greenhouses, modern turbines and floating homes we reveal the Netherland’s battle for space to live on and grow food.  Weird looking forts provide a glimpse of this nation’s struggle for independence, and bizarre New Year’s traditions bare its community spirit.

Europe From Above: Poland

Premieres Sunday 8th December at 9pm

Swoop over the largest castle in the world, zoom through fireworks over Krakow. Witness the struggles of European Bison, the largest land animal in Europe. This bird’s eye view of Poland also reveals a nation undergoing an astonishing transformation. In Warsaw Poles are hard at work building what will become the tallest building in the EU.

Europe From Above: Spain

Premieres Sunday 15th December at 9pm

Soar over Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia as architects work around the clock to finish the building. Daredevil barnacle hunters rappel down jagged cliffs to hunt for one of the world’s most exclusive shellfish. Glide over one of the world’s greatest abandoned buildings nestled deep in Spain’s northern mountains.

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Expensive Movie Rentals?!

It seems like there’s going to be a reduction from the time a movie is at the cinema to when it’s in your home….Warner Bros would be cool with people renting a movie 2 weeks after cinematic release as long as they pay a $50 fee. Fox are offering a 30-40 day turn around with a $30 price tag. Universal doesn’t have a price but has suggested 20 days before available to rent at home.

Variety reports that due to anti-trust laws, each studio has to come to an agreement with each theatre chain individually. Who are scared that people won’t come to the cinema if this happens, the demand is that the 90 day gap between cinema release and debut on Blu Ray stays as is for at least 5 years.

To listen to the guys chatting about this please click here!