The BBC used ‘Fortnite’’s game engine to safely cover the 2020 Olympics

Instead of flying the various presenters to Tokyo, the BBC used Unreal Engine and green screens

Throughout its coverage of the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the BBC used Epic GamesUnreal Engine to create the entire studio.

Instead of flying its various presenters out to Tokyo, the BBC used the same engine as Fortnite to create a variety of studio set-ups. From fish swimming around the garden to the views of the Tokyo skyline, almost everything viewers saw on screen was rendered in the game engine.

“A lot of people assumed we were actually live from Tokyo but because of the pandemic, the obvious travel restrictions and the uncertainty that came with all that, we’ve done things slightly differently,” said Dan Walker in a behind the scenes tour of the Olympics studio, as found by Nintendolife.


He then revealed the whole thing was actually broadcast from Salford. Turns out the only thing real objects in their “Green Kingdom” were the chairs, the floors and the metal tables.

‘The set is rendered from the same engine that produces Fortnite,” continues Walker before Sam Quek explains how all the images were rendered in real time. Invisible to the viewer “ghosts” were projected onto the walls to help presenters interview the Tokyo-based Olympics athletes while the entire crew was hidden using “virtual masking”.

“Because everything is incredibly carefully masked and marked out, there are certain things you can’t do or places you can’t go,” says Walker before disappearing as he walks into one of those masked areas. As you’d imagine, wearing green or white clothing was also a big no no.

This wasn’t the only gaming/Olympics crossover we saw this year though. Music from famous video games soundtracked the opening ceremony while leaked documents have revealed that there were once plans for Lady Gaga to disappear into a warp pipe during the same event.

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