THEALE, 29 June 2001- The BBC used two ELSA GLADIAC 920 3D graphics boards to drive much of the on screen graphics during its coverage of the General Election.
The BBC One programme "Vote 2001 - The Verdict", shown on June 7th, attracting an audience of 18.8 million viewers over 11 ½ hours of live television, used the boards in two key high profile areas.
One of the boards powered a reference projection for Peter Snow, replicating the image on the famous "virtual swingometer" and giving the presenter visual cues.
The other board was used in anchor man David Dimbleby's graphics systems, to drive real time 3D graphics that showed changes in the vote at key constituencies up and down the country, as the results came in.
In total the Dimbleby system was on air around 400 times between 10.00pm Thursday evening and 1.00pm Friday lunchtime.
David Bevan, New Media Support Specialist and a member of the BBC News Graphics team commented, "We decided to go to air with the ELSA boards fairly late in the project development. The final decision was made after one week of excellent, stable performance during the pre-transmission studio rehearsals, leaving one week before the show to iron out any remaining graphics issues. We have been impressed both with the speed and the Quincunx multi-sampling function which smoothes out the edges of images and lettering, essential for this sort of broadcast."
Price was also an interesting factor with this year's "Dimbleby Graphics" system costing about 1% of the system used during the 1997 show. The ELSA boards are used in dual 1.1 Ghz Pentium III
machines running Redhat Linux 6.2 with the BBC's own in-house developed OpenGL graphics software and the latest release of Nvidia driver software for Linux.
Following the election, the team, managed by BAFTA and RTS award winning Senior News Graphics Designer Mike Afford, -aim to use the ELSA GLADIAC 920 board to produce a 3D share board for Adam Shaw's sharewatch, part of the BBC Working Lunch programme. It is planned for this project to go to air in September 2001.
The BBC News Graphics team with programmers Sean Kirwan and Steve Hart have won numerous international awards, including the Royal Television Society Award for Technical Achievement in1997 for its software applications developed to support News, Current Affairs and Political
The ELSA GLADIAC 920 3D graphics board is based on the NVDIA GeForce 3 graphics processor, the first fully programmable graphics chip in the world. Its nFinite FX(tm) engine enables pixel-precise programming of realistic 3D effects, such as volumetric and particle-based light, fog, smoke and explosion effects, textured material surfaces through reflective bump mapping and impressively animated water surfaces.
The Lightspeed Memory Architecture(tm) and 64 MB DDR SDRAM with 3.8 ns access time and a 460-MHz effective memory clock provide 3D performance at 3.2 gigatexels per second. Thanks to full-scene
anti-aliasing (DSAA), pixel edges are finally a thing of the past. The ELSA GLADIAC
920 is covered by a six year warranty and is priced at £349.99 inc VAT.
ELSA is one of the leading providers of Internet access and computer graphics solutions for the PC. Its product range includes modems, ISDN adapters, ISDN and DSL routers, videoconferencing systems,
graphics boards and monitors. ELSA was founded in 1980 and today has around 700 employees. In addition to its headquarters in Aachen, Germany, it also maintains subsidiaries in San José (USA), Taipei (Taiwan) and Tokyo (Japan) as well as in London (UK), Paris (France), Milan (Italy), Madrid
(Spain) and Stockholm (Sweden). Since June 1998, ELSA AG shares are traded on the "Neuer Markt" trading segment (WKN 507 360) of the Frankfurt stock exchange in Germany.
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