Graphics violence on Spike's Bellator MMA

Spike Bellator Awad vs Anderson
Neal Romanek
Post Production
July 21st 2017 at 10:24AM : By Neal Romanek

Ross Video's Xpression system provides complex graphics in real time for Spike's punch-fest

Spike TV is known as the combat sports television leader and the home of Bellator Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing, featuring some of the best fighters in the world.

Providing weekly coverage of the events requires Spike TV to put their television production skills to the test every time. Traveling across the country or around the globe, the Spike TV team needs to be able to adapt to changes in fighter match ups, content and social media as they move from town-to-town bringing combat sports to eager viewers.

The team has been using the Ross Video XPression system, which provides real-time motion graphics systems, clip servers, workflow tools, and purpose-built software applications.

“We love the flexibility of the graphics the Ross XPression system provides us. We have worked with other systems that can provide rendering in real-time, but the ability to modify graphics in the field, using the same software application was critical," said Scott Fishman, SVP and executive producer for Spike TV. “The versatility of XPression and the capability of making changes to a graphic at the last second, and send it to air from the same user interface, makes all the difference in a live sports environment.”

The Bellator coverage on Spike TV each week demands everyone on the production team be able to make changes on the fly, while still maintaining network-level production quality. Creating interstitials, matchups and other animations each week requires work being done on-site. Ross’s XPression Studio provides the Spike TV crew with the real-time render engines to produce the highly topical animations each week.

“Having partnered with Scott and his team at Spike for many years, I was familiar with their workflow and production style," said Kevin Dresser, business development manager for XPression. "I knew that XPression had the perfect match of design tools and horsepower to deliver the dynamic look and feel they desired.” 

Powered by the Matrox X.mio2 HD-SDI I/O card, the Ross Video XPression real-time render engine easily integrated into the Spike TV workflow and allowed for the last-minute, real-time changes that look as complex as pre-rendered content.

“From the first demo of XPression, we knew we had found the right product for our demanding workflow”, said Fishman.