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A Whole New Way to Watch Sports: 'freeD' Bullet Time Replay Makes It to NBC

Bullet Time freeDWe’ve been following the recent developments of bullet time rigs pretty closely, especially the one created by Japanese broadcasting company NHK. Their rig consisted of just 8 multi-viewpoint remote-controlled cameras, but the folks over at Replay Technologies has developed a 12 4K Teledyne DALSA Falcon2 CMOS camera setup. They’re calling it “freeD” and you’ll be able to watch the NFL from multiple new perspectives in little over a month. To see it in action and find out how it works, hit the jump:


PetaPixel recently talked to Patrick Myles of Teledyne DALSA about the details of freeD, or Free Dimensional Video — what it is and how it works:

Replay’s freeD system utilizes powerful cameras and sophisticated algorithms to create three-dimensional photo-realistic real-time scenes. This information is stored as a freeD database that can produce (render) any desired viewing angle from the detailed information.

The rendering takes only 30 seconds on average. The video below gives you the lowdown on how it all works:

<embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=45437776" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

According to PetaPixel, this rig has already been used in golf, gymnastics and baseball under the name “YESVIEW.” To see freeD in action, check out the video below of a Yankees home game.

So far, Replay’s system has only been installed in the Dallas Cowboys stadium. The cameras are set up around both red zones, and will be capable of everything you’d expect a high-end bullet time rig to do: freezing, pivoting around, and zooming in on a subject.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that the rest of the NFL stadiums will follow suit, as well as the rest of professional sports (and who knows what else.) So, the million dollar question — when will we be able to watch a sack/interception/illegal facemask/80 yard punt return in bullet time? The answer — September 8th for the Giants vs. Cowboys game in Dallas.

What do you think of bullet time rigs being used for instant replays? Is this technology a gimmick or do you think it’ll be the future of watching sports? Let us know in the comments.

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  • “Whoa.”

  • would be cool to combine with oculus rift virtual reality headsets to make you in the game.

  • So, this is in effect real-time 3-D rendering too?

  • Will this technology soon evolve into something that replaces MoCap? That would be crazy!

    • There’s already a way of using two Xbox Kinects to do mocap based on the depth information using iPi Soft’s tools.

  • this has big implications for replays of people getting hit in the nuts

  • Looks great but its another gimmick that will be over used and not really add much to the broadcast. Sports broadcasts are becoming less about the sport that is happening on the field and more about dazzling the viewer with Stats overload, Virtual 3D Graphics, Extreme SlowMo’s and now this.

    • Explain to me how this won’t make booth reviews/replay decisions faster?

      • Im not US based and not into baseball but yes, it could be handy on some video review decisions.

        I do feel however that this wont be just for video referee decisions and that it will be littered all over the sports broadcasts. Im a replay op myself and feel that we bombard the viewer with too much meaningless rubbish.

  • This is cool. I think it has potential to be a powerful tool in helping refs get calls right. It also has potential to become a gimmick if NBC (all networks that use it, eventually) use this replay angle(?) on every play they replay in the red zone during the broadcast. I could see this becoming something we’ll have to endure until the novelty – to the network – wears off.

  • I still miss Fox’s glowing puck.

  • it looks like they’re just using it to transition between fixed camera positions. kind of neat.

  • I meant to say, amazing tech, kind of neat implementation.

  • loved that ! does anyone can tell the music name & author of the first video (the jumping atlhete) ?

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