Possibilities Delight Hope Role models

We Change

The brave new world of
Star Lab

The new research and development centre at Star Sports

breaks new ground in technology - during the pandemic & beyond

The pandemic forced us to rethink everything. Across India in this turbulent time, the rules were rewritten and a new wave of resilience formed. The same spirit was at work at Star Sports too. The goal was reinvention for our most watched games such as IPL – how could we recreate the atmospheric magic of a stadium filled with people from the safety of our homes and take our coverage to the next level?

As our audiences’ needs evolved from passive to more immersive and interactive viewing, we were thinking on our feet. Star Lab became the home for futuristic thinking and making it possible.

One of the first areas of change was production. We introduced the concept of a "hub and spoke production model" where production took place in a centralized manner but the crew operated from home. Multiple different technologies were combined to ensure that all the crew right from replay operators and producers to directors and sound engineers, got a low latency synced return to produce the show remotely and seamlessly. The model was put in place as a temporary solution, but various aspects of it are delivering long term benefits, saving money and reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

Having set up a stable remote production workflow, the team then took on the mammoth task of redesigning the viewing experience as stadiums were bereft of fans. This included new perspectives for audiences via 360 camera views and 4D replays, crowd-sourced AR graphics and optical tracking of players.

One of the most important factors for the experience was authentic and meaningful sound design. While a select group of fans in the stadiums had lost their voices, millions of fans at home have never been truly represented- in the stadium or on TV. This was an opportunity to give a voice to all fans. Star Lab, created ‘Cheer@Home’ a world- first, curated, interactive audio platform. The initiative enabled users to respond to the onscreen action with emojis and hear their cheers and chants for their favorite players and teams in the resulting broadcast audio, elevating the viewing experience.

Disney+ Hotstar users reacted with emojis at unprecedented scale - users clicked over 4.8 Billion Emojis in 59 matches! With this tsunami of reactions, we are all set to move into a new era for scale in regards to interactivity and a blurring of the lines between digital and linear TV, with more and more of our audience opting for a dual screen experience.

Next up, studio production was due a tech revamp and this started with the creation of some stunning photorealistic virtual sets and leveraging XR for in depth analysis, part of the Lab’s collaboration with Epic Games, creators of Unreal Engine. The ability of game engines to simulate real world physics and add interactivity to AR graphics has opened many doors for deeper, more immersive and visually rich analysis and storytelling - from VR simulations of on-ground action where analysts can replay balls bowled seconds earlier, to the broadcast world-first use of mixed reality headsets for presenters to visualise and interact with virtual stadiums, player avatars, ball trajectories and data - all rendered in real time.

Another important theme in the studio being driven by the Lab is the use of artificial intelligence and computer vision technologies, which are not only powering automated robotic cameras and gesture control for graphics, but Star’s very own robot statistant ‘Cricko.’

The sky's the limit for this team and we can’t wait to see what they are going to come up with next!

We Change

We are constantly changing, challenging and doing totally new things. New formats, cutting-edge technology, with the highest quality standards – one of our key principles is to challenge status quo.

We Connect

We have an incredible connection with our people. We are always working to understand their loves, their dreams and how we can help them do and be more.

We Create

Imagination is the heart of everything we do. We create new possibilities and open up new ideas. We pride ourselves on being a hothouse of creativity.

We Care

We care for our colleagues, our communities and our country. We believe in the power of using media as a force for good by creating content that has a positive impact on society.

Imagine more
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