NEW YORK — Over the subsequent few weeks, roughly 4 dozen Intel staff will descend upon Pyeongchang, South Korea in an enormous enterprise that will see the know-how firm reworked right into a cellular manufacturing home with subject crews, producers and virtual reality cameras.
In what will be the largest-scale virtual reality event to date and the first reside virtual reality broadcast of the Olympic Winter Games, Intel
will rotate roughly two dozen 180-degree cameras that it constructed in-house throughout 18 stay occasions over the 2 1/2-week occasion. It’ll shoot 30 occasions in complete — one other 12 with 360-degree cameras — to create a mixture of VR reside streams and video-on-demand content material.
For the stay occasions, three to 6 cameras will be devoted to every, providing a number of digital camera views that viewers can change between at will. During downhill snowboarding, one at the gate may present an athlete getting ready to start out, whereas a number of others may be positioned at key activates the course and the end line.
“So maybe I want to watch half-pipe from under or beside or left or right or I want to see what they look like when they’re preparing for that jump,” Kalpana Berman, an Intel Sport consumer expertise product supervisor, stated at the Consumer Electronics Show. “I have the freedom to choose that camera angle.”
Intel’s in-house manufacturing staff will additionally present a fully-produced version of the VR expertise generally known as the VR Cast. By switching forwards and backwards between the 180-degree panoramic, stereoscopic digital camera views, a director’s minimize will sew collectively an automatic story for the finish consumer, just like the one viewers have come to anticipate from the conventional TV broadcast.
Data overlays from the conventional broadcast, resembling the athlete’s identify and nationality, real-time statistics, a leaderboard, medal counter and post-event outcomes, will be offered by the Olympic Broadcast Service and out there to customers in VR as properly.
The reside feeds will then be despatched to the cloud the place they’ll be distributed throughout Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Windows Mixed Reality, and the rights holders’ apps and net browsers, comparable to the new NBC Sports VR app and non-U.S. broadcasters, corresponding to CBC in Canada and Discovery in Europe.
Of the 30 occasions that will be captured throughout the games, from downhill snowboarding to determine skating, 12 will be pre-produced with 360-degree cameras and distributed as three- to five-minute on-demand clips after the occasion. Other pre-produced content material, similar to excursions of the 9 Pyeongchang Olympic venues, will be out there on-demand forward of the games.
When a viewer enters the virtual world that Intel has created for the Games, they’ll be given a birds-eye view of a digital recreation of the venues, the place they will hop between every to observe particular occasions based mostly on location. Intel’s reside VR broadcast will formally kick off with the opening ceremonies on Feb. 9 in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a short lived stadium with seating for 35,000 constructed particularly for the opening and shutting ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Games.
In a gathering demoing the product final week, Blake Rowe, Intel’s product implementation supervisor, stated the aim of the know-how is to get individuals into locations they wouldn’t usually be capable of entry. For males’s and ladies’s ice hockey, for instance, cameras will be proper subsequent to the ice, between the two workforce’s benches. For cross-country-type occasions, the digital camera pods will be unfold all through the course.
A number of on-demand movies will even be shot from the perspective of an athlete as they undergo their respective competitors, together with bobsledding and downhill snowboarding.
Rowe suspects that the virtual reality expertise will proceed to enhance for future Olympic Games as the means individuals eat sports activities evolves. Further in the future, these reside feeds may be complemented with interactive stats or different social elements.
For now, although, Pyeongchang will be an experiment in large-scale VR manufacturing. Intel has offered a lot smaller-scale VR protection in the previous, together with weekly Major League Baseball games, NCAA basketball tournament games and PGA golf events.
Jen Booton is a senior author at SportTechie, the place this primary appeared — “Inside Intel’s Plans To Capture The Olympics In Virtual Reality.” Follow her on Twitter @jbooton.