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360 Replays unveils 3-D replay system

360 Replays completed development of a 40-camera 3-D sports replay system known as VantEDGE that can be used to capture and play back live video from numerous angles during live sporting events.

The 3-D VantEDGE technology consists of an array of high-quality pan/tilt/zoom video cameras connected to a dedicated 3-D processing system responsible for controlling the cameras and processing incoming video. The result is 360-degree video that can be played back in hundreds of ways, modifying both the angle and time dimension

The cameras are mounted to a circular aluminum rig, or can be mounted permanently. Each camera in the system is individually computer controlled and digitally encoded at 30fps. It is currently recorded in SD, but HD resolution is possible.

The brains of the system, controlled by only two operators, consist of a rack of hot-swappable servers that process the video data in real time. The camera operator tracks the action as it happens, assisted by the 3-D control software. This one operator controls all of the cameras as if they were a single camera.

Michael Brown, chief software architect at 360 Replays and creator of the technology, said the system would be on display at NAB2007 next month. The company is working on developing the same technology for HD productions, targeting major indoor sports such as hockey, boxing and figure skating. The system has made possible a new concept the company calls digital refereeing.

The 360 Replays system continues to develop 3-D playback technology in association with several third-party companies, not yet named.

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