Instead of using a single camera to derive a 3D model of a scene as Piero does, Iview uses multiple camera angles to reconstruct an incident and process it into a virtual fly-through.
Up to 12 cameras were tested with the software earlier this year during an England v Wales rugby international. “It is hard to replay complex incidents or to explain tactics with existing one-camera systems because they lack spatial depth,” said Oliver Grau, lead technologist at BBC Research and Innovation.
“Our system combines multiple viewpoints to form a single virtual replay of an incident,” he explained. “This allows us to move from one end of a stadium to another, giving a 360-degree view of the action even while the virtual video is moving forwards in time.”
The goal is real-time processing, although this is some way off. “The processing of the images is time-consuming but it could be done during the first half of a game for playback during the half time break,” said Grau.
Snell & Wilcox, a co-sponsor of the project, is to build Iview functionality into its vision mixers. Hawkeye is to market the product. Iview has been in development for the past three years and is due for completion around March next year.