Image: Guillaume Chican, Sporttotal
Normally, Sporttotal streams lower leagues on a flat screen. An experiment with the AR headset Tilt Five brings an additional bird’s eye view onto the couch table.
An augmented reality experiment by streaming service Sporttotal could give soccer broadcasts a better overview. Guillaume Chican, Head of Immersive Technologies at Sporttotal, recently posted some interesting examples of an AR overview map on the couch table. Using the AR headset Tilt Five, users see a 3D bird’s eye view of the entire field. Meanwhile, a TV behind the projection shows the traditional 2D image from the TV cameras.
Double the display, double the overview
The AR overview is a spatial representation of the players generated from the 2D image with markerless motion capture data. It is somewhat reminiscent of the overview in classic soccer manager games.
The 3D projection works thanks to Sporttotal’s camera system. In Germany, the company offers its all-in-one solution in cooperation with Telekom. Soccer clubs in smaller leagues (up to the regional league) install the 16-centimeter box elevated on a floodlight mast or elsewhere on the edge of the pitch.
Three cameras capture a centered, seamless image of the entire field. The box, powered by an Nvidia Jetson board, streams a full-HD feed over a 5G or 4G connection to Sporttotal’s platform.
An AI system takes over the direction: During live streaming and recording, it automatically focuses the camera on the area around the ball and cuts together highlights for video summaries. This works for numerous sports. For the lower clubs, this opens up opportunities for tactical analysis and a share of advertising revenue.
So far, viewers have watched these games using their browsers, smartphones, tablets, or smart TVs. But Sporttotal is also experimenting with more unusual options like the Tilt Five AR headset. With its focus on interactive tabletop games, it’s a perfect fit for the scenario of a live spatial overview of a soccer field.
The company’s Volumetric Video Player, developed with Unity and WebGL, lets you watch a sample game in soccer top view in the browser. So far, the ball is still missing and the digital body movements do not correspond in detail to the real movements. Alternatively, Chican’s YouTube videos show first impressions.
He also shows the “Virtual Venue Experience in the Metaverse” there: This concept puts spectators in a virtual stadium where they can freely choose their seat and viewing angle. Meanwhile, athletes generated from motion capture data play on the field. There are no concrete plans yet to bring either concept to the Sporttotal portal. For now, they are experimenting.