20 Year of PAINT: A ‘Miracle’ for Live Sports (and More)
Telestration has the power to take on-air sports analysis to new heights, and this was not lost on fans and the press who watched the broadcast of the 2004 World Ice Hockey Championships. Raving about the remarkable explanatory and storytelling capacity of the new illustrated replay tool used to enhance commentary, a newspaper article of the time dubbed the revolutionary new tool a miracle for viewers.
PAINT today would be unrecognizable compared to the original released in 2002 and used at those 2004 championships. Despite its evolution over the past two decades to support immersive video highlights, 3D effects, live data integration, and other advanced capabilities, PAINT still offers the same fundamental value proposition. It empowers broadcasters to engage fans in the magic of sport, using dynamic illustrated replays to break down the strategy behind every play and put athletes’ brilliance on display.
Development of the telestration solution actually started with the notion of virtual placement (of on-screen graphics) for television broadcasts, and sports were a natural fit because of the need to place sponsor logos. Once the development team discovered how to attach a graphic or drawing to moving video, using touch and gestures to show what’s happening and tell the story, the vision for PAINT was born.
The first iteration of the solution, developed by AKI Sport, featured just four tools: paint, a drawing tool with red, yellow, and green options; an arrow; a spot tool for highlighting; and a 2x zoom tool. These simple tools went a long way in redefining fan expectations for live sports commentary and video enhancement. And, even today, a commentator or analysis likely leans most heavily on these very same types of tools.
In addition to offering these essentials, PAINT keeps telestration simple enough that users can manage this difficult task along with other elements of a fast-paced live sports production. That’s one reason the solution quickly gained users and admirers — in live sport and beyond.
Early Popularity and Use Cases
PAINT attracted its first users in 2003, not long after its launch. Though it would gain international visibility in 2004 for high-profile events such as the Hockey World Championships and the soccer/football World Cup as well, pop culture in PAINT’s home country, the Czech Republic, was even faster to embrace it. PAINT became a cultural phenomenon.
Even as PAINT became a mainstay of live sports, it became a go-to for weather and traffic. Comedians and TV hosts also began using PAINT to do analysis. Did a celebrity or politician wear an unflattering or unintentionally revealing outfit? The fashion police used PAINT to point out the faux pas.
As the years passed, PAINT became to telestration tool of choice for broadcasters around the world. Swedish company Hego purchased AKI Sport 2005 and continued to refine and improve the groundbreaking telestration tool. Eight years later, Hego became part of the Chyron family.
Evolution and Extension
While broadcasters increasingly have come to rely on PAINT as an essential storytelling tool, sports teams and leagues likewise have embraced it as a means of analyzing play and helping athletes understand strategy and their role in it. In fact, it was through intense cooperation with Manchester City that Hego developed Coach PAINT, a version of the tool created specifically for coaches and other professionals working with teams and athletes to improve performance. As with PAINT for broadcaster, Coach PAINT makes illustrated replays and analysis straightforward — easy to manage in the midst of a live match.
While Coach PAINT today is used by the most elite football clubs and sporting organizations, PAINT has the highest global reach of any telestrator on the market today. It provides a robust three-channel replay server with complete start, stop, and jog control of live input footage. Operators can visualize the play or highlight player performance using a comprehensive set of 3D-calibrated, live tracking telestration effects, including movement arrows, pass/shot trajectories, player spotlights, ball cursors, zoom-ins, linked team movement, and more. PAINT also includes tools for creating virtual lineups and field models for further in-depth analysis.
PAINT 9.3, the most recent release, represents an industry-first application of AI algorithms to sport replay and telestration, reducing essential but complex tasks to quick button pushes, saving operators valuable time in generating top-notch telestrated sports clips and allowing them to focus on creating dynamic narratives around a match.
Looking ahead, further enhancements for PAINT may include virtual reality, an app-based version so that media consumers can telestrate on YouTube videos via their smartphones, and other capabilities that make storytelling easier and more accessible while making sports and other subjects more interesting and engaging for viewing audiences.