Watching a game through the player’s eyes.
Start-up MindFly hopes to use its technology to open up spectator perspectives when broadcasting team sports. The idea is nothing new – viewers are familiar with point-of-view camera angles in Formula 1, for example, where each driver’s car is equipped with numerous cameras, including those that show what the driver sees.
To adapt this concept to dynamic and physical team sports, the Tel Aviv and Barcelona-based company has had to overcome certain hurdles. MindFly’s set-up therefore includes AI-based software and specially developed hardware. This ultra-lightweight, wearable bodycam is incorporated into a vest designed for professional athletes and referees. The bodycam uses SteadiCam stabilisation technology. The camera captures a wide angle which is later cropped and stabilised further using AI processing algorithms. Footage is uploaded to the MindFly Cloud in real time, where it is broadcast with audio to viewers in HD.
This technology has been used since last summer by players from the EuroLeague, Europe’s professional basketball league. Bayern Munich’s basketball club players also use the bodycams during training and footage is then broadcast on social media. The technology was used for the first time during a live football match in the friendly between FC Köln and AC Milan last summer. It provided footage from the players’ perspectives. Defender Timo Hübers, who wore one of FC Köln’s two bodycams, was sceptical pre-game and was not convinced “that you will be able to do anything with the footage captured”. The 1:2 match result is already history, while the quality of the footage across video portals is convincing. Tim Lemperle’s angle on the goal for FC Köln received almost 45,000 likes on TikTok alone. TikTok viewers were almost universally enthusiastic, and user Babaganosch predicted: “This is the future.”
MindFly’s CEO Eran Tal predicts that its technology will also be used off the sports field in the future, such as at concerts.“Imagine being a spectator and being able to be the singer, drummer or guitarist and being able to flick between these perspectives with a single click. Imagine if you could experience that with a recorded video or, subsequently, at a live show.”
At its Big East Basketball Tournament, Fox Sports demonstrated that there are still ways to bring viewers closer to the action without the need for high tech. Coaches at the tournament were provided with live microphones.