Max Does Football
Sports news from an avatar.
The science fiction series Max Headroom portrays the TV presenter of the same name with short clips of his adventures. Max Headroom is a human avatar that was the highlight of a 1985 TV movie.
In the age of deep fakes, AI and the metaverse, this idea is no longer just a pipe dream, even if its potential applications are still in their infancy. Sports channel “ran”, by Seven.One Sports and a subsidiary of ProSiebenSat.1 Media, has, in recent months, tested avatars for use in sports broadcasts for the first time. The avatars took on the role of presenters and announcers between football broadcasts on ran.de.
HourOne is behind this new technology. The Tel Aviv-based company has set itself the goal of “democratising premium videos for all publishers”, says Natalie Monbiot, Head of Strategy at HourOne.
Radar’s editorial office has also had the opportunity to test this technology. Users can choose from more than 150 avatars that are all synthetic characters of real people. They then set a custom or ready-made background and choose from a range of camera settings for the sequence. Once they have done this, they use the keyboard to set the speech text for the avatar and the desired tone of voice. After a short pause for configuration, our presenter is ready. Radar’s outcome is presentable. The lip synchronisation aligns better in English than in German, and yet the system demonstrates just what is possible going forward in media.
HourOne stresses that it is not looking to replace human presenters; instead it hopes to add a video component to content that would otherwise be limited to written articles due to cost limitations.
Seven.One Sports is yet to comment on its future use of avatars.