Changing the Way Broadcasts Tell Stories: Reality Check Systems

By D.J. Podgorny, @DJPodgorny

Reality Check Systems is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Image via RCS

Reality Check Systems is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Image via RCS

The Super Bowl, World Series, F1, Bundesliga, Stanley Cup and UFC 200: what do these marquee sporting events have in common? The way audiences watch these events and others has been transformed over the past twenty years with the help of cutting edge storytelling tools developed by Burbank-based Reality Check Systems (RCS).

RCS has collaborated with premiere leagues, networks, and social media giants to create real-time graphics packages and control solutions that help bring compelling stories featuring data visualizations and analytics to audiences worldwide. The company’s powerful solutions have helped enhance hundreds of hours of live sports, news and entertainment content worldwide.

“Coming up with appropriate solutions for our clients that give them value, that’s what gets us up and gets us excited each day.”
— Andrew Heimbold

Odds are if you watch NFL Network, NHL Network, or MLB Network, you have laid eyes on the incredible data visualization capabilities that RCS has brought to market. But RCS’ digital footprint expands beyond sports, as they also service other live event productions, including NBC’s recent presidential election coverage.

With such an impressive resume, it is hard to believe RCS began as a small team working out of Co-Founder Steven Heimbold’s tiny apartment. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the company was founded by Andrew and Steven Heimbold, who recognized a tremendous opportunity in the motion graphics space.

RCS' work received critical acclaim from the Emmy's Photo via RCS

RCS' work received critical acclaim from the Emmy's Photo via RCS

In 1997, personal computers were becoming more powerful by the day, and the two quickly realized they could provide equivalent quality work to the current industry leaders, without the large sunk cost of investing in highly specialized computers. Immediately, the duo began tapping their creativity in design and animation, and technical backgrounds to create new cost-effective and efficient graphics production solutions new to live television production.

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Quickly, word spread, and within their first year of operation, RCS was given an opportunity to collaborate with FOX Sports. Due to low overhead, the size of their team and talent for bridging the gap between technology, design, and broadcasting, RCS had established unmatched capabilities in the marketplace in the early 2000s.

In the years following, RCS continued to bring a fresh perspective, taking risks and challenging what could be achieved in real-time graphics. This innovative reputation was instrumental in RCS landing the entire gamut of CBS Sports’ live graphics business before the close of the century, including both NFL and NCAA men’s basketball broadcasts.

“Be passionate, be interested and try to be the best at what you’re doing. Share that enthusiasm with the clients you work with.”
— Andrew Heimbold

Their commitment to challenging the status quo, continually finding solutions to challenges and seizing new growth opportunities, as well as their passion for all the components that accompany running a business are at the core of RCS’ success over the last two decades. Combined with a relentless dedication to their clients, these tenets have consistently positioned the company at the top.

“Coming up with appropriate solutions for our clients that give them value, that's what gets us up and gets us excited each day,” said Andrew Heimbold. "We don't look at our clients as clients; we look at them as partners."

RCS offers a variety of services and products that help networks and leagues engage TV and online audiences with everything from real-time graphics to analytics, including a new platform that combines the best of the Web and TV to deliver a personalized viewing experience. No matter how unique or tall the task, RCS is always on the lookout for new opportunities that help them push the boundaries of what’s possible in real-time storytelling.

As an entrepreneur, Heimbold offered the following guidance for someone considering the pursuit of his or her own venture:

“Be passionate, be interested and try to be the best at what you're doing. Share that enthusiasm with the clients you work with. If you do that and you get that first project, your passion will show and grow from there."

Only time will tell how RCS will maneuver the ever-changing landscape of digital media, but with a track record of capitalizing on technological innovation, expect RCS to continue its dominance for years to come.

To learn more about RCS and their capabilities, check them out at http://www.realitychecksystems.com/portfolio/rcs-reel/

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