AI, augmented reality powers Fox’s Super Bowl strategy

After the beer-soaked scene This one At last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, we can’t wait to see what the Super Bowl atmosphere in Arizona will do for this weekend’s raucous PGA Tour event.

Fox Sports is preparing for Sunday’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVII with more super slow-motion cameras, an unprecedented two SkyCams, and a new artificial intelligence service to get the most out of all its equipment. is used to improve camera technology.

“The idea is to weave these incremental technological achievements seamlessly into broader broadcasts,” Mike Davis, Fox senior vice president of technology and field ops, told me, adding that the production staff had too many He emphasized that he did not want to overwhelm viewers with additional features.

Of the 94 cameras at State Farm Stadium, 32 are HDR high frame rate, including 12 at 4K or higher. Although Sony has been successful as a leading manufacturer, some specialty cameras are manufactured by other companies such as Dream Chip, Astro, and Marshall Electronics.

A 4K and super slow-motion SkyCam will be installed above the field to help capture the action and will also be utilized for augmented reality features (more on that later).

All of this plays into Fox’s strategy of delivering sensitive but technologically advanced broadcasts. “When we use these 4K cameras of his, we hope the viewer doesn’t even know we’re using them,” Davis adds.

Not all cameras have super slow-motion capabilities, so Fox relies on services like XtraMotion from Belgian video technology company EVS to get the most out of its broadcasts.

For example, consider C360 Technologies’ PylonCam, which provides a panoramic view of the field. That footage can be run through XtraMotion, which uses artificial intelligence to slow down recorded frames at arbitrary speeds. This is especially useful on critical plays on the sideline or near the end zone.

Fox at the Super Bowl will use a new version of XtraMotion installed in an onsite control room rather than in the cloud, which Davis said should help reduce turnaround times. “It could add to our supermotion arsenal, even if those cameras aren’t supermotion,” he says.

It’s been just over five months since the new AR/XR studio set for “Fox NFL Sunday” opened. Move your audience virtually anywhere.

On Sunday, Fox will broadcast outside State Farm Stadium from the largest remote set ever built for the Super Bowl, relying heavily on augmented reality. The point-to-point flycam, powered by AR, travels more than 400 meters connecting the set and the stadium, and Fox’s senior vice president/graphics technology and integration, Zach Fields, says it allows for new angles and perspectives. He said sponsorship opportunities will arise.

“We’re really trying to break away from the typical lower third,” Fields said of standard graphic overlays. “We’re trying to create something a little more natural and seamlessly integrate into the production to give it a different look and create something fresh. ”.

When it comes to game action, AR features such as player-tracking graphics from SkyCam footage will benefit from a long-standing collaboration between Fox, Sony and tech company Great Logic, and Fields said it will “open the door” to what Fox can do. “It will be opened,” he said. “Flying cameras are inherently the most difficult to adjust,” he explains.

Data from Zebra Technologies, which just expanded its partnership with the NFL, will help add 3D spatial graphical elements to replays and special packaging. “Being able to use that location data allows us to integrate more quickly,” Fields says of his team’s in-game graphics work.

Fox uses Unreal Engine for its AR efforts and Vizrt for graphics insertion, and is bullish on its innovations, but cautions against going too quickly. “We as broadcasters are really learning how to present information in a way that viewers get the information they need but doesn’t distract from the bigger picture,” Fields says.

Fox built the largest remote control set ever for the Super Bowl

Tune in for a new look at State Farm Stadium from Fox’s four-person drone team on-site when pregame coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET. “It’s almost a requirement for big games,” Davis says.

Film crews choose different drones depending on the type of filming they want to do. “We have a heavy-lift series that emphasizes cinematic shots with stable gimbals,” Davis explains. “And then there’s the FPV family of drones, which are a little bit smaller and more agile and potentially able to fly from a first-person perspective.”

Fox is producing a number of pre-recorded drone segments and will provide live coverage all the way through standard temporary flight restrictions before kickoff.

Enjoy plenty of aerial views during pre-game coverage

  • My colleague Joe Lemire got an exclusive look inside the technology Tempus Ex Makina has perfected since it spun off from the Alliance of American Football. Part 1 of Lemire’s report details Tempus Ex’s impactful work with the NFL, while Part 2 explores the company’s leadership, including former AAF Director Charlie Ebersol.
  • The NFL is sponsoring the league’s first Metaverse concert on Roblox, featuring hip-hop star Saweetie and hosted by Intuit. Her performance debuted Friday night and will be repeated hourly until Sunday’s Super Bowl.
  • Verizon is expanding its sponsorship with the NFL through a new five-year agreement to become the league’s official private radio network for coach-to-coach communications.
  • It’s been a busy week for Genius Sports, as the NFL’s exclusive data distributor announced it will be producing free-to-play games for several of the league’s international markets. Meanwhile, SBJ’s Tom Friend looks at how Genius has aggregated its myriad services to launch the Genius Marketing Suite.

Image credit: Courtesy of Fox Sports (Super Bowl Set)

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