Live From Final Four: Replay Technologies’ freeD Makes College-Hoops Debut
Israel-based technology startup Replay Technologies has made tremendous strides in the U.S. sports market over the past calendar year. Well, you can add another marquee event to its résumé.
The innovative 360-degree replay-technology system, freeD, received an overhaul at AT&T Stadium and is at the disposal of both the broadcast and the in-venue productions during this Final Four weekend.
“We are extremely excited for college-basketball fans to see the game in a whole new perspective, through the lens of this innovative technology,” says Oren Yogev, CEO of Replay Technologies. “By showcasing these never-before-seen perspectives of the game, our goal is to create increased exhilaration throughout the telecast.”
The freeD system was already in place here at AT&T Stadium, and Turner Sports had used the technology at NBA All-Star Weekend in February, so its use during the Final Four was a natural fit.
To prep for basketball, the freeD team swapped out all of the 4K sensors for 5K sensors in the 24 camera fixtures that wrap around the stadium’s second level. The smaller playing surface also required altering the shooting angles on all the devices.
“[4K] was good, but not good enough for us,” cracks Diego Prilusky, creative director at Replay Technologies. “We’re always looking for higher resolution. It sounds like a small step in numbers from 4K to 5K, but it’s a huge step in terms of quality and resolution.”
Each individual “camera” is really just a sensor, and its brain is in a converted computer tower located in the Replay Technologies’ trailer in the AT&T Stadium television-production compound. Each device has a direct fiber line to the trailer, where it connects to its own computer.
Replay Technologies’ system has been part of some major broadcasts throughout the past year, including New York Yankees telecasts on the YES Network and Dallas Cowboys games here at AT&T Stadium on NBC Sunday Night Football. At every production, the head broadcaster will provide a producer in the Replay Technologies control room. It is up to the producer to determine what shots to use and to tell the game director when a good rendered clip is available.
“Each game we do, we develop so much,” says Prilusky. “We’re always looking to what’s the next step? What more can we do with the system? How can we do this faster?”
Replay Technologies recently added Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to its lineup of U.S. partners. The company, which was founded in 2011, made its debut during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Last month, it secured an equity investment from Guggenheim Partners to continue its reach in the U.S. and internationally. In addition, this past week, the company received a New York Emmy Award in Technical Achievement for its work with YES Network.