Sony intros Data Augmented Video

One of the fruits of Sony reinvigorating its Picture Stitch programme (not to mention locking its various R&D teams into a darkened room until they came up with something that could be done in the real world with it) is Data Augmented Video, a couple of demos of which were running discreetly at the back of the Sony stand/hall.

Picture Stitch takes the pictures from three Sony HD cameras and does exactly what it says on the tin; stitches them together using the company’s increasingly ubiquitous MPE boxes to form a 6k by 1k image of an entire pitch/court/track/whatever. Inside this space you can then fly virtual cameras to produce a range of different services. And when you then overlay data as the company was doing on the two demos (using Stats for football and Hawkeye for tennis) you get some very useful and generally interesting stuff happening on screens.

First, you get a 6k by 1k image, which sounds patently useless until you see it in action and realise that it would make a perfect second screen app, especially for sports that struggle to balance Cameras One and Two such as rugby and American football. Drive it via a TV Everywhere service and you have the perfect screen for viewers to glance at and understand the overall tactical situation on the pitch, rather than just relying on the director to pick out the winger lurking menacingly on the other side of the pitch waiting for the cross field kick.

And if viewers love it, coaches could even more…especially when you then add a Stats data layer. Mark Grinyer, Head of Live Production Business Development- 3D and Sports for Sony Professional, guided SVG Europe around the features they’ve built in so far, such as highlighting the back four’s formation, something that you can well imagine Arsene Wenger paying a lot of money for at the moment. And not just Wenger either, broadcasters are under increasing pressure to explain the game in ever more intricate detail to the fans – all they have to do now is find the ex-players that can keep up and drive the nigh-on realtime technology on-screen.

And finally, one of the tennis demos had a virtual camera flying within Stitch just following a player on a court. The software had been told to keep her to the right of the picture, and a remote camera did just that – providing a very convincing record of a couple of points with no human intervention. As Grinyer says, you wouldn’t put it on a main court and televise it, but for practise courts just to keep an eye on things such as unexpected injuries, it could have a really interesting application…

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