Fox utilizing tethered drone, virtual gfx and visor cam in Daytona 500

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Fox Sports marks its 15th Daytona 500 this weekend, the 60th running of the “Great American Race.”

For the event, known as the “Super Bowl” of stock car racing, Fox is deploying 14 in-car cameras, virtual graphics and a tethered drone, along with marking NASCAR’s first IP transmission.

The drone, flying along the backstretch of Daytona International Speedway, will provide a unique new angle for the broadcast.

“Each year, Daytona Speedweeks allows us to develop, test and deploy more and more technical enhancements than we are able to do at most other events,” said Michael Davies of Fox Sports. “The sheer mount of multi-day, multi-platform programming Fox Sports has over multiple races, qualifying sessions and practice sessions allows us the reps to do so.

Highlights include:

Fox Sports has enhanced its 3D-cutaway car, putting these graphics in the hands of the broadcast team. In addition to a touchscreen in the Hollywood Hotel, “NASCAR on Fox” analyst Larry McReynolds will once again have his own dedicated touchscreen inside the booth, allowing for immediate access to enhance any technical story, giving the viewer clear illustrative explanations around the latest changes to the Cup cars.

Camera-tracking technologies from Croation company, Stype, provide Fox Sports the ability to place 3D-graphics in the real environment by combining with VIZRT for the graphic rendering. For example, specialty graphics, including virtual leaderboards, sponsor enhancements and race summaries, are placed on Turn 3 as giant virtual billboards.

Fox’s Gopher Cam, provided by Inertia Unlimited is a tiny high-definition point-of-view camera buried underneath the asphalt track surface. This is the 10th year the camera has been used, and it is ever-improving. Advances in lens quality and materials enable Fox to provide a much wider and clearer field of view. For Daytona, there are three cameras placed in harm’s way, including one in Turn 4 and another on the backstretch, positioned so cars run the cameras over at more than 200 mph.


Viewers can go for a pre-race walk with two-time Daytona 500 winner and “NASCAR on Fox” analyst Michael Waltrip down pit road – seeing what Michael sees with the RF hat camera.

As always, Fox Sports gives viewers a chance to truly test the ability of their home stereo system with its hugely popular “CRANK IT UP” segment, in which the Fox Sports Emmy-winning audio team allows viewers to listen to the action on the track in dynamic 5.1 surround sound as if they were there.

Fox Sports employs seven main mobile production units in the multi-network television compound at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, the network’s coverage from Speedweeks requires two satellite uplinks and a set of mobile generators that provide nearly two megawatts of power independent of the local power source. This command center directs the following arsenal of production equipment:

  • Live tethered drone
  • 300 Fox Sports personnel
  • 12 production trucks including facilities for
  • Live Television Production and Transmission
  • Digital Production
  • Editing Facility
  • RF Cameras and Audio from BSI
  • Telemetry and graphics from SMT
  • Power Generation
  • Studio Production
  • 20 manned cameras
  • 3 in-track Gopher Cam cameras
  • 2 6-times super slow motion cameras (Sony 4300)
  • 1 16-times super slow motion camera (Sony 4800)
  • 1 1000-frame-per second Xmo cameras located the start/finish line
  • 10 Robotic Cameras around the track
  • 3 robotic Hollywood Hotel cameras
  • Jib camera with Stype Augmented Reality Enhancement
  • 14 in-car camera packages, each featuring three different camera angles
  • 4 wireless roving pit/garage camera crews
  • 2 in-car Gyro-Cams
  • Massive network of digital replay devices and a rolling archive of past races
  • 40 race team communication radios, one for each car on the track
  • More than 150 microphones placed along the track and throughout Daytona International
  • Speedway
  • Racing Radios edit unit – deployed to get the most radio chatter on the air as possible
  • The iconic Hollywood Hotel mobile studio

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