A virtual visualisation technology developed by BBC R&D could be used to augment the BBC’s broadcasts of the London Games, writes Adrian Pennington. The aim of Venue Vu is to give viewers a greater contextual understanding of large-scale and multiple live events.
Already trialled during the live coverage of Wimbledon 2011 (pictured), the technology combines pre-generated 3D computer models of a venue with live video.
At a recent BBC R&D North open day, principal research engineer Graham Thomas explained that during the tennis championships the technology was used to create a virtual flight between the centre court and court three during the coverage.
For large scale events like Glastonbury or Wimbledon the director has traditionally had to cut directly from one stage or court to another or perhaps used an overhead crane shot as a linking device.
“Venue Vu provides a far more realistic visualisation of the events that are taking place in the area,” said Thomas. “We start and end with a live camera feed of a court with the transition between them rendered in a 3D graphical model, making it easier to see the relationship between points of action on the ground.”
The technique could be used to cover the Olympic Park and be used to “help explain editorially the physical relationship between the velodrome and the swimming pool, for example,” he said.
“However, for this to work at the Olympics we need complete control of all the ISO cameras” – a feed available from host broadcaster OBS but not yet taken by BBC Sport as part of its Olympics package.
Venue Vu has emerged from a wider Viewers’ Situational and Spatial Awareness for Applied Risk and Reasoning project, a £3.1m collaborative venture co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board with partners the National Physical Laboratory, BAE Systems and the Centre for Advanced Software Technology.