NVIDIA & Sportvision Bring Special Effects to Winter Olympics Broadcast
Press Release from NVIDIA
Have you been watching the 2010 Winter Olympic Games <http://www.vancouver2010.com/>? Over 80 nations are competing in 15 different sporting events taking place in and around Vancouver, Canada, through Feb. 28th. The Olympics provide captivating drama that only sporting events on a massive, global scale can provide. From Alpine Skiing, Curling, and Figure Skating, to Ice Hockey, Ski Jumping, and Snowboarding, there’s an incredible amount of action going on, and NVIDIA and Sportvision are helping deliver that action via NBC to TV and Internet audiences in unique ways.
Vancouver Olympics 2010 <http://blogs.nvidia.com/.a/6a00d834515fca69e201310f35072d970c-pi>
Sportvision, Inc <http://www.sportvision.com/>., leveraging the massively parallel computing power of the Quadro graphics processing unit (GPU), is the company bringing you incredible, new effects to many of these events at the Winter Olympics.
Sportvision is the company behind “RACEf/x,” <http://www.sportvision.com/main_frames/products/racefx.htm> those real-time info ‘balloons’ that track the cars at NASCAR events, and “1st and Ten,” the superimposed first-down marker that you see displayed on the field during NFL games. Sportvision has partnered with NBC during the Winter Olympics to present viewers with a variety of GPU-powered broadcast effects that provide key insights into the action taking place.
One cool effect, called “SimulCam,” superimposes one athlete’s performance over another to graphically illustrate the differences between competitor’s strategies, approaches, and even flaws.
If you’ve been watching NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, you’ve watched Bode Miller flying down the mountain <http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/assetid=2b83c7ab-79fb-4e28-a217-23c427b299c2.html> racing neck and neck against Ivica Kostelic in the Alpine Skiing Men’s Downhill, and/or Lindsey Vonn and Andrea Fischerbacher chasing each other <http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/assetid=8cf019b8-b917-42a4-a2ff-734868b8a548.html?chrcontext=technology#simulcam+vonn+fischbacher> down the super-G course; no, you /weren’t/ imagining it— you DID see two skiers racing down the mountain to the finish line at the same time, mere inches from one another. Yes, these are solo competitions, with each competitor racing against the clock, but SimulCam gives viewers the ability to instantly compare one skier’s performance against another’s, helping better explain why one skier just beat out another by mere tenths or even thousandths of a second.
The second intriguing video effect, called “StroMotion,” repeatedly freezes athletes in motion during a given segment of their routine to demonstrate, within a single frame, the entire evolution of their movements. A still photo is one thing. But a StroMotion-enhanced video sequence effectively lets the viewer see into the mind of an athlete as they execute a routine.
StroMotion technology has enhanced coverage of the Moguls competition <http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/assetid=44ff91d9-ff31-499a-84ab-5aa90586cd3a.html>, along with several other events.
OK, now for some drill-down on how these technologies work. SimulCam and StroMotion were initially developed as sports training applications by a group of video pros in Switzerland known as DartFish.
StroMotion and SimulCam work by compounding video images into a frame-by-frame sequence. StroMotion is based on stroboscoping, a means to analyze rapid movement so that a moving object is perceived as a series of static images along the object’s trajectory. SimulCam is a video processing application combining video sequences with Spatial-Temporal alignment. Given two video sequences, a composite video sequence can be generated which includes visual elements from each of the given sequences, suitably synchronized and represented in a chosen focal plane. For example, given two video sequences with each showing a different contestant individually racing the same down-hill course, the composite sequence can include elements from each of the given sequences to show the contestants as if racing simultaneously. Both StroMotion and SimulCam technologies are part of the DartFish DartStudio system.