A technology to allow the director of a soccer match to choose a point of view from anywhere in a stadium and any (virtual) camera movement has undergone a latest test in Spain using 20 cameras, writes Adrian Pennington. Free Viewpoint will be on show in the Future Zone at IBC2012, and it is claimed that none of the established realtime analysis developers, such as Piero, Orad or VizRT, have so far managed to accomplish anything similar. Project FINE (Freeviewpoint Immersive Networked Experience) involves placing a series of remote controlled cameras around a stadium, each recording different views of a game. Those camera positions are then reconstructed in a virtual stadium with the players separated out from the background. The multiple views are used to compute 3D geometry, allowing a director - and potentially individual viewers - to freely move around, effectively generating video of action where were no physical cameras. The most recent test (Saturday 26 May) was of a second division Spanish League soccer match in Barcelona using 20 cameras. Previous tests had only used six cameras. FINE is led by Spain’s Mediapro and backed by industrial and research partners across Europe including EVS, BitManagement (Germany), EDM Hasselt (Belgium), KTH and Tracab (Sweden), BCN Media and AbertisTelecom (Spain). It is in the second of a three-year programme co-funded by the European Commission under the seventh framework initiative. An explanatory video is on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/user/ProjectFINEtv “FINE solves the problem of using simplistic avatars for such representations, and represents players with real movement and real placement in the pitch, giving access of these features not only to broadcasters, but also to final users,” said Jordi Alonso ofMediapro Research. The technology is also claimed to be able to generate stereo pairs for 3D – even for autostereoscopic screens – with multiple views. The project’s ambition is to:- Create a “very realistic model” from video sources and then broadcast it to any network- Deliver it as realtime as possible and in a form factor suitable for OB vans- Use low cost video cameras- Make it possible to create virtually any subjective point of view (e.g. goalkeeper, referee, referee’s assistant, defender, attacker, or overhead) “No matching technology has been shown by any of the established vendors (Piero, Orad, VizRT) at least until today,” added Alonso. Mediapro, EDM Hasselt, developer of the Camargus picture-stitching application that has been tested by ESPN, and Barcelona Media shared a booth at IBC last year to showcase their work on the 2020 3D Media project “The main target for the last year is to speed up all the algorithms and fine tune all workflow items, with the help of a soon to announce Advisory Board, with important companies of the broadcast industry,” said Alonso. www.projectfine.euhttp://research.mediapro.es
A technology to allow the director of a soccer match to choose a point of view from anywhere in a stadium and any (virtual) camera movement has undergone a latest test in Spain using 20 cameras, writes Adrian Pennington.