By Paul Nicholson
December 12 – The five-year deal between Scotland’s SPFL and sports betting content hub IMG Arena will see a big step forward for sports broadcast technology company Pixellot in the European football market.
Pixellot are specialists in creating high volume, automated video content to broadcast quality. it also has an application within the amateur game. In Mexico the technology is installed at more than 100 amateur pitches and streams more than 72,000 games a year.
“We are creating a revolution around sports production, democratising sports production,” says Pixellot’s Dave Shapiro. “There are 200 million events not being produced,” he said.
Pixellot is currently producing 70,000 hours of live content per month and Shapiro says this will soon expand to 100,000 hours. In terms of matches, it is 50,000 games a month while the company has 6,000 systems installed worldwide.
The deal with the SPFL will see Pixellot’s cameras and technology installed at all SPFL Championship grounds.
Pixellot technology is automated, and AI-based. “We have an automated workforce. We have focussed on how to scale content in a big way,” said Shapiro.
Cameras are installed in a fixed environment which can be a stadium but could also be a training ground to pick up practice sessions and matches.
Production level is TV broadcast quality at 1080p at 60 frames per second (fps). Streaming quality is generally at 30 fps and 720.
The camera ‘box’ comes with four 4k cameras, each capturing a quadrant of the field. The pictures are then stitched together to create a high quality overall image. The cameras can pan, tilt and zoom automatically. The AI technology makes the system self editing as the cameras follow the action using player and ball tracking software that is programmed to recognise the key action areas.
“The system works for 14 different sports,” said Shapiro. It’s flexibility is a key component.
“It can tag players to create their own highlight reel, or we can create team highlights. If it is for broadcast we can put a commentary over the top from a radio feed or bring in separate commentators. It also plugs into the scoreboard and creates a graphic of the score and the timing clock,” continued Shapiro.
“A separate OCR camera turns action into data.”
The SPFL deal is primarily to create volume online and mobile footage for IMG Arena to sell to its bookmaker clients. Speaking before that deal was announced at the Sportel America conference in Miami, Shapiro said: “With more games to see there are more games to bet on.”
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