Technology developer Carrot Broadcast launched in 2018 with a mission to create a multifaceted solution to simplify real-time graphics creation and delivery. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in television graphic design, the Carrot team, based near Moscow, carried out that vision by developing a robust real-time graphics tool that is used to deliver augmented reality graphics and virtual sets in news broadcasts across Russia, including for VGTRK, RT, and NTV; e-sports; livestreams; and special events. To provide its customers with flexible, low-latency I/O at 4K resolution, Carrot incorporated AJA’s multiformat Corvid 44 PCIe card into the solution, which also powers graphics for content developed by Carrot’s production arm.
“Fast, simple and high quality is the motto for everything we do, and our solution lives up to this promise, making it easier to create and get great looking graphics to air,” shares Konstantin Ganzhela, Carrot Broadcast Creative Director. “It minimizes latency by using the ping-pong method and combining tracking data with a video image when there’s a vertical synchro-impulse. Coupled with AJA’s Corvid technology, which allows our software to work in 4K resolution, this functionality ensures a high resolution, low-latency final output, which is crucial to live broadcasts and viewer engagement.”
Delivering augmented reality graphics and virtual sets live can be a complex task, and is often further complicated by the ecosystem between the content designer, technical operator, and production team, with each focused on their own respective tasks. Carrot’s solution streamlines this process, allowing designers to continue working in a familiar environment, whether Adobe After Effects, Maxon Cinema 4D, or Unreal Engine. Once complete, the designer exports templates and virtual sets directly into the Carrot Engine via a plug-in. Then, any editorial staff are able to play with templates, or run events and scripts during the broadcast. Technical operators are able to use Carrot’s tracking server and RTC server to monitor system activity and ensure all pieces are working together properly.
Behind the scenes, Carrot Software drives the solution, and at its core is the Carrot Engine, a proprietary real-time graphics engine that allows users to work with templates exported from Adobe After Effects, and exchange commands and textures created in Epic Games’ Unreal Engine from one playlist. AJA Corvid 44 cards facilitate video capture for the loop-throw and fill/key video signal. The system also includes a real-time keyer; a tracking server that integrates with industry-standard protocols, including those of Stype, Mo-Sys, Trackmen, and Free-D; an RTC server supporting cross-device and OS streaming; and server storage.
Ganzhela concluded, “Our programmers instantly fell in love with the Corvid SDK, and our customers have come to appreciate the low latency, high resolution feed that the card provides. We’ve been so impressed by the performance of the Corvid 44 cards, that we’re looking at how we might implement Corvid 44-12G cards in future setups and look forward to seeing what they can do.”