Think about your favorite sporting event, whether it’s Football, Soccer, Hockey, Baseball, UFC, WWE, AEW, and so on. Now think of your favorite moments from said event. That epic game winning catch, that hard hitting sack, that long range trick shot, the underdog pinning the powerhouse giant for the gold. Imagine now, that moment in your mind but you’re watching it in full 3D! When most people think of 3D, we think of video games or that period in time when Hollywood was cranking out 3D movie after 3D movie, just to try and cash in on the fad. Soon, if Unity has anything
to say about it, we can add your favorite sports
to that list.
To give viewers more of an immersive experience, Unity3D is using real-time 3D rendering to bring spectators closer to the action than ever before. Unity is on its way to changing how we watch sports. When Unity unveiled Metacast, a new technology that aims to capture and analyze the movement of athletes in real time, they are seeking to shake up our sports viewing experience. UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was the first to collaborate with Metacast. There’s a short video that shows how viewers can get closer to the action, from a variety of angles.
The Unity devs hope to make this work on more than 20 platforms. It’s been tested with other sports like MMA (mixed martial arts), Basketball, and Rugby. These tools of the trade can help analyze players' movements and actions to learn more about their technique and skill. The coaching staff will love this aspect as well. There's the idea of bringing interactive, dynamic content to the spectators. This could involve green screens to bring advertisements in real time. Peter Moore, senior vice president for sports & live entertainment at Unity, said in an interview with GamesBeat, that by filming athletes in real time, they hope to allow broadcasters to use the imagery to embark on "a new era of live sports." This new technology let spectators switch to a first person view, at least in UFC, so they can see from the point of view of a fighter as they face their foe. As for the technical details, the system relies on a volumetric capture of about five million voxels per second. For those who don’t know, a voxel is a three-dimensional pixel.
So how does this work? Unity uses several cameras to scan athletes' bodies using 3D volumetric rendering technology. The process involves capturing, viewing and interacting with the real world, whether that's moving people or static objects, and all are in 3D. Then the magic happens, and the content can be viewed from many different angle at any time, as if you were really in the ring. As for the hardware, Unity partners up with Microsoft and Canon, before taking over for the 3D rendering. "Sports fans love to analyze the action at every level of detail," Peter Moore continues to say. "This is the first time you're seeing this level of resolution in three-dimensional visuals. This is about five million voxels that we're pushing down.
We do the rendering and the editing, and then being able to compute that in real time, push it up in the cloud, and then send it to the broadcasters. We see the first opportunity with UFC, which is perfect for this as it's a controlled environment in the octagon. "Keep your eyes and ear ready for more news on this exciting evolution of how the public will view our favorite sports in 3D.