Live events are sensory experiences. When combined with a fan’s emotional attachment to a player or team, the two combine to open the way to engage, engulf, engross, excite, and enchant the fan to new extremes in entertainment. Sights and sounds have evolved far beyond black-and-white video and monaural audio. Stunning high-definition video and multi-track stereo sound envelop the viewer at home, their favorite sports bar, or wherever they are with today’s mobile technology. With each passing year, new layers of technology are added, further elevating the fan experience, and allowing them to become fully immersed in the magic of the moment. Let’s step into this magical world of live events and see what experiences are about today and are becoming for tomorrow.
To get a clear picture of the evolution of live events, we’ll break down the process into three key components: capture, transport, and presentation to the fans.
Capturing the event
Capturing the event has expanded as our devices gain more depth as multiple real and virtual inputs are intertwined. Today’s average mobile phone takes better video than professional cameras of just several years ago. And today’s professional and custom cameras capture more reality than the human senses can absorb.
With new technology and experience, events become more immersive, starting before the events with scanning images, objects, and sites, along with creating new graphical assets to be overlayed. Event photography now resembles a motion picture experience with pre-production scripts and preparation. The technology is advancing using innovations developed for movies with new cameras, sensors, AI, and graphical processing unit (GPU) technology integrated into capturing live events. Let’s dive deeper into the technology that allows this.
The camera’s eye provides a window into a reality that, when captured, can be reduced to pixels or bits captured in time. Each pixel tells a story of brightness and color. When combined with a higher capture speed and more pixels per window, the viewer experiences more of what the window sees. The exposure time or dynamic range can be increased and even capture the polarization and spectral sensitivity of different wavelengths to allow the viewer to see the world in a new dimension, with enhanced contrast and truly mesmerizing detail.
One of the new technologies I’m working with captures these pixels 500 times per second with GPUs in each camera that can record and manipulate the pixels in real-time. This seamless merging of reality and virtual reality before it leaves the camera along with the data attached to it allows enormous flexibility and enhancements. The technology opens a portal between the viewer and the live event allowing the sports broadcaster to capture and create an event and the fans to experience it in their own version of reality.
Transporting the experience to the fan
Capturing all the visual, audio, and experiential data is no small feat. It requires a massive amount of data transport, at the event, within production facilities, and ultimately, to the fans themselves. Despite the challenges, new technologies are emerging that allow us to record and transmit this data in a way that is both lossless and perfectly suited to the creative vision of the director, editor, or other artistic resources.
While the raw data of a full experience can be upwards of 12 gigabytes of throughput, existing standards and accepted technologies allow us to reduce that to just 3 gigabytes of throughput onsite. And when it comes time to send the final viewing experience to the consumer, the bandwidth can reduce even further to just 5 to 20 megabits per second in a streaming environment.
While the event is being broadcast, there are other influences that add to it. As live event production advances, so do the technologies that power it. Cloud computing, remote broadcasting, and remote analytics are among the most influential technologies that are revolutionizing how live events are produced and presented. These remarkable technologies are transforming the way live events are produced and presented, providing a more streamlined and efficient experience for everyone involved.
At the heart of this revolution is the cloud. With its vast resources and capabilities, the cloud enables broadcasters to scale up their production capabilities quickly and efficiently without needing expensive on-premises equipment. With the cloud, broadcasters can easily create, manage, and deliver their content from any location to any device. In addition, live event experience can now reach a global audience, reducing the need for complex and expensive broadcast infrastructure.
Remote broadcasting is another technology that is having a profound impact on the world of live events. With remote broadcasting, production teams can work together seamlessly from anywhere worldwide, collaborating and communicating as if they were in the same room. This means that live events can be produced and broadcast virtually anywhere, whether it’s a small venue or a large arena. As a result, remote broadcasting enables a faster, more efficient workflow, reducing production costs and streamlining the production process. This is even more important for sports that travel the world creating unique events once a year, or for many once-in-a-lifetime experiences!
Remote analytics is also a powerful tool giving broadcasters unprecedented access to real-time data and insights from anywhere in the world. With this technology, broadcasters can monitor and analyze their live events with exceptional accuracy and speed, enhancing their production in multiple ways.
With remote analytics, hosts and color commentators are provided with historical and real-time information that fans may be interested in, creating an even more informed and engaging experience. Meanwhile, production personnel can anticipate what they should focus on based on past events and player actions, ensuring that every moment is captured in a way that does justice to the action on the field.
And it’s not just the broadcasters benefiting from remote analytics – fans are too! By accessing a wealth of information and insights, fans can gain a deeper understanding of the game and the players, making the entire experience even more enjoyable and rewarding. This has jetted us far beyond a player’s stats on the back of a player card.
Delivering the experience to the fan
As one journeys into the future, the live event experience is evolving thanks to groundbreaking advancements in technology. One can now embark on journeys into entirely new dimensions of entertainment. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two of the most awe-inspiring technologies emerging in live event production. With AR, virtual graphics are seamlessly integrated into the real world, making every moment a multi-dimensional work of art. Meanwhile, VR allows fans to step right into the heart of the action, where they can experience the excitement and intensity of the event like never before. Ready Player One experiences are ready for player 2023 realities.
And it doesn’t stop there! With wearable technologies, like smart glasses and watches, fans can become more engaged than ever. These remarkable devices provide real-time alerts, stats, and analysis, allowing fans to stay on top of every event moment and providing opportunities for interactive participation and engagement. This participation enables the sport, and the broadcaster, to engage even further with the fans. Viewing experiences can now transcend time and space, taking fans on a journey with every event that they will not forget.
As we venture farther into the future, it’s clear that the world of live events is on the cusp of something truly magical. With each passing day, technology is pushing the boundaries of what we once thought was possible, creating new and exciting ways to experience the thrill of the game. The magic of live events lies in the power to captivate and enchant audiences creating a world of immersive entertainment that transcends time and space. Watch for more information upcoming as I explore and write about these projects.