AZ Alkmaar selects IQ Video’s vPilot for AI-driven camera studio
Dutch football club Alkmaar Zaanstreek, also known as AZ Alkmaar or AZ, has selected an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven camera studio system, vPilot, from IQ Video Solutions, a brand of Mobile Viewpoint, to create TV productions at its AFAS stadium.
The studio build was completed by local Dutch company Buckdesign, which designed the studio layout, managed the installation of the vPilot system and installed all the necessary lighting, backdrops, furniture and screen.
Peter Buck, managing director at Buckdesign commented: “AZ is a very well known football team, not just as a top-flight team in the Netherlands but across Europe and the world as an active participant in the Champions League. To be involved with AZ and the opportunity to build their studio in such an iconic environment is a great privilege for us.”
The vPilot system was developed by IQ Video Solutions, which specialises in live streaming and AI solutions for broadcast. It utilises commercially available PTZ cameras, which through the use of additional 3D scanners and AI software, can track people within the studio, while utilising a virtual director to create the production with different shots and any necessary graphics, inserts and external feeds, to create a completely automated professional production without the need of a camera team or director.
Michel Bias, managing director at Mobile Viewpoint and IQ Video Solutions, said: “We have been developing AI solutions for sports and studio productions for the last 18 months, and to have our local Eredivisie football team to implement our technology is a great honour for us and justifies many of the man-hours we have put into this evolving technology.”
Michael Koster, commercial director at AZ, concluded: “In the long term, having our own studio for a variety of different broadcast applications is our plan but with the current pandemic we have a high priority for keeping channels of communication open for our loyal fanbase while we play behind closed doors. The pre-match and post-match analysis that we live stream allows us to keep our fan engagement relevant and close. The longer-term plan is that we intend for the studio to be used by broadcasters and for other external communications, as well as a platform for a university course that we are setting up.
“The power of AI to operate the studio without the need of a camera team allows us to both be flexible and quick to react but also keeps our costs and media down. The studio built by Buck is the professional appearance we want to give. We look forward to increasing our professional video output.”