New FOM graphics for 2014 and Coulthard gets a tablet

The BBC F1 magazine was released yesterday, and in it contains a few interesting tidbits from BBC F1′s editor, Mark Wilkin.

The first is that, according to Wilkin, we will be getting a complete overhaul of the World Feed, with a new graphics set. Wilkin, speaking to the magazine, said “Together with our Host Broadcast partners, FOM, we have been developing a new graphics package, with much more information. This will enable commentators Ben Edwards and David Coulthard to be aware of what is happening on the track and in the pitlane and to be able to interpret it for the audience.” Given that specific reference is made to Edwards and Coulthard, it is clear to me that Wilkin is referring to the World Feed, although I imagine BBC’s own graphics have been tweaked slightly too.

A new graphics package is not a surprise, 2014 is a ‘new formula’, and it makes sense to overhaul everything from the bare bones upwards from a graphics perspective. It would be the third major iteration in graphics since 2004, the first from 2004 to 2009 was in the form of ‘squares’, with the second, more ‘swoosh’ style from 2010 to 2013. It is not too surprising to see BBC working with FOM on that, and they would not have been the only broadcaster to get involved, Sky would have been involved to along with a host of other foreign broadcasters. Obviously FOM never officially confirm graphic set changes, so I think we will have to wait and see until Australia to see what exactly has changed regarding the graphics, but there will be at least some change anyway.

Meanwhile, BBC have invested in a tablet for David Coulthard to use in the paddock. Wilkin notes that Coulthard “will be able to review footage and control the pictures”, and that the addition will be “a new dimension for the post-qualifying and post-race analysis which promises to be an exciting part of the coverage.” Whilst I am happy that it is in the paddock, and not in a cupboard like Martin Brundle had to suffer in the early part of 2011, this appears to be a rip-off of the Sky Pad. Of course, Sky have ripped off BBC ideas in the past (from the basics back in 2012 vs BBC in 2011) but it doesn’t make it any better. It’ll be interesting to see it on screen though, but whether it is actually a necessity, I don’t know. The last thing we want is for both shows to look and feel identical aside from the talking heads.

Lastly, highlights of the Brazilian Grand Prix appear to be getting a primetime slot. The magazine has a start time of 20:00, presumably both BBC Two, for both days. I expect that this hinges on whether it is a title decider or not, a title decider involving a British driver could see a very late move to BBC One (although this is unlikely), but on the other hand if the title has already been decided then it could well be 22:30. In other words I don’t think this tells us much.

Update on March 14th – Now that practice is taking place, we can see that there is some change, but only minor tweaks. I’ve seen a few people suggest that what I reported was incorrect, I quoted Wilkin who is clearly very high up in the BBC F1 chain! I did add a disclaimer above too “I think we will have to wait and see until Australia to see what exactly has changed regarding the graphics, but there will be at least some change anyway”. It would have been nice to get a complete overhaul, but that is not the case.

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Posted on March 7, 2014, in BBC F1, Formula One Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It’s actually a company called DixonBaxi who designs FOM’s graphics. I think the BBC is taking a bit of a liberty there by implying that they were the primary designers… Although i’m sure they would have been consulted as to their opinions. The BBC and Sky’s graphics would be based on what FOM are doing, not the other way around.

    • You’ve said the first bit multiple times on Twitter, and I think I remember someone from FOM disagreeing with you.

      • What, that DixonBaxi designs it? No, i’ve had no-one disagree with me on that. There was even a news article a few days ago talking about them doing the designs, alongside peices on their own website of course.

      • Here’s the news article talking about it: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WcN2nlfwWeUJ:www.sportspromedia.com/notes_and_insights/dixonbaxi_the_business_behind_formula_ones_broadcast_branding/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-a and if you look at DixonBaxi’s official website you’ll see them talking about them desgining the graphics there too. Do you believe Sky when you say “Look at our pitlane camera on the red button”? Just cos they say “our” doesn’t meant to say that it’s them filming for example. Same for the BBC saying “we” designed the graphics.

      • Interesting considering that article has since been taken down…

      • True, it has. but it was published only a few days ago going by the date. I think it would be wrong to consider every word of that article inaccurate. I just don’t think that the BBC would be the primary designer of the graphics, and I think the BBC’s quote there just seems a little rich, and we all know how broadcasters like to pass off FOM’s work as their own.

      • I just hope that the BBC’s influence was simply: “OK, so the graphics will look like that? Fine by us, we’ll make our own graphics look similar to that then.”

        Otherwise i’m worried that if their influence was more along the lines of “OK, design them like this…” then it’s going to be all black and yellow worldwide next week xD

      • I’ve got clarification from someone connected to FOM about who designs the graphics:

        “Not sure about DixonBaxi, I know the older graphics used between 2004-2009 were done by them & the website design is done by them.

        Don’t know if they will be doing the new set or if it will be done in house by FOM themselves, I do know that FOM were advertising for graphics designers a year ago & have brought in people to work on 3d graphics design & animation the past year.

        As to the broadcasters input, they will be able to put their ideas forward & will be informed of any changes, They won’t however be able to tell FOM what style/information to include.”

  2. The tablet thing is a bore, it’s a gimmick and you can’t see anything there. If it helps the commentators and the pivots or whatever then that’s great, all the better for them, but don’t show it off like ti’s something from another world. It’s just a glorified teleprompter…

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