The BBC’s R&D team has been announced as the recipients of this year’s IBC Best Conference Paper Award.
The team (pictured below) will be presented with their award on Sunday 16th September.
Their paper, titled AI in production: video analysis and machine learning for expanded live events coverage, discusses a project known as ‘Ed’. This prototype system is used to create near-live content with minimal crew. An example might be a set of three unmanned 4K cameras, from which ‘Ed’ would produce a number of properly framed HD pictures, cutting between them as appropriate.
“The point of the work is to allow coverage of more events, to reach places we otherwise could not reach,” project lead Mike Evans said. “With conventional production we cover only about six of the nearly 100 places music is performed at the Glastonbury Festival, for example, or just a tiny fraction of the 50,000 performances in 300 venues at the Edinburgh Fringe.”
“But with ‘Ed’ we can reach many more of these and do so with production techniques which are much less intrusive for the event itself,” he explained. “This technology will be suitable not just for major production companies like the BBC, but for a whole range of use cases, like minor sports which need to increase visibility, and even vloggers who want to improve their online presence.”
Dr Paul Entwistle, chair of the IBC Technical Papers Committee said: “The detail in this paper is absolutely fascinating. The team has developed an artificial intelligence system that understands the rhythms and cadences that make for professional video production. This was validated by research to see how well ‘Ed’ performs compared with a real director, and how the audience perceived the viewing experience.”