AR solution lets you take a ‘seat’ in empty stadium

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Here’s an interesting idea for how to get a bit more excitement out of watching football matches in the Covid-19 era without actually being allowed into the stadium to watch your team play.

Oz Sports and RVX Productions, whose work has been featured in Hollywood movies, have joined  forces to add augmented reality (AR) technology to live broadcasts. Fans can pick their avatar, club shirt, have their face painted, and even appear in the stadium in their favourite seat.

They can even get their voice heard, by participating as either audio-only or with immersive visual participation in the live broadcast. OZ ARENA tech can either completely replace the stadium entirely or augment spectators into existing empty stadiums. The process is added to each camera feed in the workflow opening up support for multi-camera processing. OZ ARENA claims to have advanced audio support, where fans can use an app to add live audio to the broadcast.

The servers aggregate all fan audio, using low-latency time synchronisation and AI algorithms, to manage volume levels, enabling fans to yell as loudly as they like remotely, without overpowering the audio stream. These solutions enable broadcasts to maintain full integrity and sound effects during fan-free games.

Says Gudjon Gudjonsson, CEO of OZ Sports:

“Due to Coronavirus, we will see more games played behind closed doors with bans on large-scale public events. It is our job to keep the experience still as exciting as during the non-pandemic world. We do that by learning from esports, bringing new exciting elements into the real-world broadcasts.

“Our augmentation filters can be customised based on the branding strategy and the creative plan of the league. The idea is to protect the integrity and experience of the game, by turning the attention away from the empty stadium, and instead replacing it with appealing surroundings to make the game more interesting, and as close to reality as possible. These are times to explore and experiment, to make sports even more appealing and to bring it closer to the latest developments in esports.”

Adds Dadi Einarsson, CEO of RVX:

“We have brought world-class visual artists, 3D developers and technologists, with a range of honours and awards. The team for this solution has previously delivered visual effects for blockbuster films, TV, video games and VR projects including Everest, Gravity, The OA, 2 Guns and Sherlock Holmes.”

The OZ ARENA solution can be applied to live production as a per-match service. It supports both audio-only and the full immersive audio-visual solution. The OZ ARENA system is an integrated part of the OZ Connected Stadium, and can also be installed at broadcaster’s facility, OB truck, or at the stadium. Rights-holders and broadcasters can contact OZ Sports for quotes on deployments by visiting www.oz.com. 

Chris Price
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