Real Time Webcast
Webcast is a technology that allows creating a 3D animated visualisation of an ongoing sport event on a website in real time. Representation is very similar to the TV broadcast, though with a number of differences. A webcast scene appears with a short delay while the data is being gathered and delivered to the customer’s public server where the application is installed.
Representation is very accurate as it uses an in-house library containing a great number of prefab models, animations and textures that reproduce players’ actions according to the data provided. A great advantage of the webcasting application is an interactive interface that enables the user to view the scene from a number of preset cameras and change the angles of view using the navigation panel. Webcast is a great solution for sports web resources that do not have rights to use videos and for sport fans to follow the event when and where it is not available on TV.
Webcasting system includes a web application installed on the client’s public server. The application includes libraries of 3D models, animations and textures, data feeds in xml format received from the data provider and, if necessary, an administration interface for managing the application content.
As soon as an incident occurs in the sport event the data provider prepares a feed and uploads it to the server. A data feed contains the information about the event (date, time, venue, competition, participants, current score, formations etc) and the description of the latest incident (type of action, participants, coordinates, result of action etc).
These feeds are immediately processed on the end-user's PC and are converted into a 3D scene with the needed elements such as geometry, textures and animations loaded from the web server thus assembling the complete visualisation.
The time gap between the incident in the real event and its visualisation is due mainly to the time required by the data provider for filling the data feed and, to a lesser extent, due to the time required for loading files, and may vary from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
Quality and features of a webcast depend on the nature of sport and the type of data. Some events can be presented as dynamically changing statistical information with a visual schematic representation of an incident, others by means of dynamic reconstruction of the whole sequence of events with high accuracy and almost in real time. But what is unique for webcasting of any sport is 3D. It enables the user to view the event from various angles, choose players’ perspectives, operate cameras and replay the whole event in a post-match mode.
SportFlashback has a practical experience in webcasting such sports as football and cricket. In 2006-2009 the biggest cricket website Cricinfo webcast all matches of international importance using the application developed by SportFlashback. Those matches included World Cups, Ashes series, Indian Premier League matches and other series and tournaments. The cricket application worked on a ball-by-ball basis, represented all possible bowler’s, batsmen’s, wicket-keeper’s and umpire’s actions and provided visual statistics such as wagon wheels, pitch maps and partnerships in 3D.