Polymotion Player - Bundesliga Matchday: Bayern Munich V Borussia Dortmund
During the 2020/21 football season, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) who are responsible for organising and marketing German professional football, are trialling new technology where a specific camera can follow individual players on the field automatically. The automated robotic camera system can be placed anywhere in the ground, but the current trial is set around the halfway line and compromises a Grass Valley LDX C86n 4K with a Fujinon HA18x5.5, and a robot-controlled camera mount on a tripod. The system is controlled by the Nikon/MRMC Polymotion Player software using tracking data supplied by ChyronHego. In development since 2016, the project has been led by MRMC and DFL subsidiary Sportcast who agreed to set up a trial at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park. Following this, a further live match was also covered at Bayern Munich where they took on Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena.
Automated Player Tracking
By Sascha Kunze – Broadcast Operations Director, MRMC.
Going live is always exciting, no matter how many times you have done it before. There is just something about knowing you have to get that one time moment every time that makes it exhilarating. On top of that going live with one camera angle for a full 90-minute football match driven by robotics and AI is also not without its nerves. Especially when it’s also the Broadcasters premier Bundesliga match being streamed live to their entire US audience. So the pressure was on!
True Remote Capability
On-site at the Allianz Arena in Munich was an MRMC designed and build POD system, a robotic PTZ system with an integrated Nikon Camera and Lens. The robotic camera was driven by Polymotion Player using the ChyronHego live tracking data supplied live in the stadium. Being the premier match we set the output to 1080i60 to conform with NTSC standards, an easy change of course. Playout occurred live over the stadium’s fibre infrastructure and via the AWS distribution infrastructure now in use across the DFL.
Following a single player with a tight shot is not easy, even more so when we are talking about some of the best strikers and midfield players in the World such as Haaland, Lewandowski and Müller. The System automatically recognises where the players are and follows them effortlessly, even during the fastest attacking runs and super fast sprints and turns.
The AI takes care of the framing, maintaining the Directors desired zoom level and is switched at their discretion by a remote operator who in this case operated the system remotely from his home in UK. True remote capability with no special infrastructure needed. The AI carried out the heavy lifting and the operator simply observed and directed.
” The flexibility of our set up allows the editorial team to make on the spot direction to the robot and allow the following of players of interest to them at a moments notice. Even the live commentators themselves had input in the player selection. This allowed live coverage from the first moments of warm-up to the final whistle, all done live and with a single camera angle.”
-Sascha Kunze – Broadcast Director, MRMC