The bar has been raised for slow-motion replays, with FOX Sports pioneering the use of a solution that uses AI in the cloud to generate super-slow motion replays cost-effectively, including where they would simply not have been possible before. FOX Sports is using the XtraMotion technology from EVS, which has now received its official launch to the rest of the TV market.
XtraMotion is an on-demand cloud-based service that transforms any video content into super slow-motion replays and will work with any camera angle. EVS outlines the problem it is solving:
- While impressive, native super slow-motion sources (sources that have been captured at 120fps or more) cannot be deployed in every environment.
- Typically, most point-of-view cameras are not capable of producing super slow-motion video.
- The full chain of super slow-motion adds an infrastructure cost burden.
- Until now, TV productions have had to carefully select which of the cameras, if any, will be captured in high frame rate, because of these constraints.
“Now, with XtraMotion, productions benefit from super slow-motion on virtually every camera angle because the high frame rate is created on-demand rather than natively,” EVS explains. “Relying on advanced machine learning algorithms developed by our team of experts, the process works for any production format – from 1080i to UHD/HDR – and any original frame rate, transforming a 60fps video into a very smooth 180fps video as well as a native 180fps into a 540fps video. It also works on post and archived content.”
EVS, a specialist in live video technology and new media productions, believes the new slow-motion solution will help broadcasters enhance the viewing experience. This view is backed by FOX Sports, which first evaluated XtraMotion at Super Bowl LIV last year to convert standard frame rate clips from specialised cameras into high frame rate footage.
Since then, XtraMotion has been used on other FOX Sports productions including MLB’s World Series in Arlington, Texas in November 2020. The solution has also been harnessed for regular live sport including NFL, NCAA College Basketball and NASCAR. This was all part of a trial period, but the broadcaster has now confirmed XtraMotion has become an integral part of its productions going forwards.
Kevin Callahan, Director of Technical Operations at Fox Sports, says: “The super slow-motion shots created from the in-car cameras at Daytona 500 this year let us truly appreciate how good the drivers are and gave us a real feeling of how steep the banking really is! And the fact that XtraMotion is a cloud-based service means we can deploy it whenever and wherever we want, and easily scale it to the capacity we need on every one of our productions.”
Mike Davies, SVP Field and Technical Management and Operations at Fox Sports, adds: “Storytelling is always top of mind at FOX Sports and applying the XtraMotion effect onto our increasing number of specialty cameras really helps us give that extra visual wow factor to our productions.”
Christophe Messa, Product Manager at EVS, comments: “The main driver behind XtraMotion is very simple: to generate great-looking super slow-motion pictures with very short time-to-air and frictionless operations.”