A winner of multiple Emmy Awards for technical achievement, the Virtual Yellow 1st & Ten® line system employs SMT's patented video overlay technology to create the illusion that a yellow first-down line is actually painted on the field, even allowing players to cross over and stand on it as if it is real. Invented by Sportvision, now a part of SMT, and first introduced in 1998, 1st & Ten® allows viewers to see the required distance the offense needs to earn a first down for each play, making it an integral viewing component and powerful marketing vehicle within the broadcast.
The 1st & Ten® line has become a must-have element of every football telecast as it continually receives high approval ratings from the audience and many on-air mentions from the play-by-play commentators. In the 2003 NFL season, Sportvision unveiled the first system capable of inserting the 1st & Ten® line in video from the popular Skycam, the mobile camera that provides aerial coverage from directly over the field of play, so all replays can have the iconic Yellow line displayed.
Recent enhancements to SMT's 1st & Ten® system help keep the broadcast fresh and the audience engaged. The technology can be used to show the Line of Scrimmage in any color chosen by the broadcaster for an additional frame of reference for the audience. The virtual Down and Distance arrows with or without team logos is a great tool for offering important data on every play from scrimmage, or just for selective situational use. Enhanced Down & Distance can be used to display additional data like current drive info, third down conversions, or other stats that may be useful to support the commentary. The Red Zone graphic gives an on-field indicator that a team has reached the Red Zone, typically inside the opponent's 20 yard line. This suspenseful graphic emphasizes the importance of the play and gives a great opportunity to discuss both offensive and defensive conversion rates in the Red Zone.
SMT provides multiple solutions for the 1st & Ten® and Down & Distance arrows during broadcasts in real-time, including the precision of on-site systems as well as the convenience of in-studio streaming using PVI (Virtual Insertions) technology.
VIP, or Video in Perspective, uses the overlay technology of the 1st & Ten® system to display Virtual Jumbotrons within the stadium. This gives the production team the freedom to choose the perfect location for showing replays and running promos following a commercial break, before returning the viewer’s attention to live action on the field.