Augmented Max Reality_Tim Heller Weather Blog

I’m sure you’ve seen the viral video from The Weather Channel that shows the dangers of storm surge in a realistic, computer generated neighborhood.

Representatives from the Weather Channel recently explained at a weather conference that those augmented reality scenes typically take about six months to design and create.

While it might not be as extravagant, augmented reality content created with The Weather Company’s Max Reality application can be just as effective. Maps showing a 3D skyline with towering clouds can illustrate the development of afternoon thunderstorms. Life-size cars can roll across the set and then float as rain appears to fall and water rises inside the studio. Simple data like temperatures can literally pop off the map as if they will land in the viewer’s lap. All it takes is a little creativity and lots of time.

Tim Heller - Max Augmented Reality Blog

Max Reality content is created in separate layers within Tru Vu Max scenes. While the scene can be produced on one computer, it takes two for playback on-air.

The main part of the scene includes the map or background and windshield layers. This displays behind the weather talent in chromakey or a video wall, as usual. Content in the reality layer renders simultaneously using the same timeline and is keyed over the talent during on-air playback.

Max Reality requires a performance space so there’s room for these augmented reality objects to appear beside or in front of the broadcast meteorologist. Larger 3D elements, like the skyline map shown above, require a wider camera shot and lots of floor space. Smaller scenes using elements that appear on top of the weather desk or in the weather center can be just as effective.

Because of the complexity, Max Reality scenes take more time for playback than normal scenes. They also take more time to create. The average augmented reality scene is about 10-15 seconds long and could take several hours to build.

The key is planning. Sketching out ideas beforehand will save time during the construction of the scene. And knowing where in the studio these computer-generated 3D objects will appear will help you keep everything in proper scale.

Click here to see some original Max Reality scenes.