PVI SpinCam finds believers in Televisa

By Ken Kerschbaumer

SpinCam, the innovative technology from PVI that uses dozens of video cameras placed around a subject, allowing for the viewer to literally “spin” around an athlete or field of play, was recently used by Televisa in Mexico to add more depth and information to a soccer training video.

Jay DiGiovanni, PVI VP, Product Design and Development, says the footage was used to compare and contrast live on-field gameplay with professional examples, enhanced by SpinCam. Footage stored from each of SpinCam’s multiple cameras can be manipulated in real-time for instant replays or used in post-production, an aspect that will dramatically improve broadcasts and revolutionize the way sporting events are analyzed.

“We think the SpinCam’s real application will be in education and player analysis,” adds Sam McCleery, PVI executive vice president of sales and marketing. “It can be used for player analysis and evaluation at professional leagues.”

For example, the NFL combine could feature SpinCam cameras mounted around the facility and give coaches and scouts a chance to view a player from all angles.

DiGiovanni says 90 cameras were used for the soccer shoot. “The goal is to come up with a combination that continues to lower the angle between cameras so the transition gets smoother,” he says. The system for Televisa used a 220-degree radius around the focal point.

The system could also become a useful tool for instant replay. “In soccer, for example, the focal point is the goal,” he adds. “Right now we’re figuring out if it makes more sense to have it at the back of the goal or looking at the goal line. “

A new interpolation technology will also improve the system as algorithms can predict the frames between two given cameras, lessening the need for more cameras.

Each camera has built-in storage (the recording time is directly linked to the resolution) with each connected via two cables. Calibration ensures they’re all aligned before recording takes place in 12-second intervals. At any point the user can stop recording and process the last 12 seconds and build a SpinCam clip.

The next use of the system will occur in late August when an unidentified MLB team uses it in a demonstration application. The system debuted at the NBA All-Star game and the clips captured during that event have been viewed several hundred thousands of times, showing the potential popularity for the system.

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