Ca-non sports: It’s in the game.

There are pros and cons to both actual professional sports and their video game counterparts. Only in real baseball, for example, could you see Randy Johnson accidentally take out a dove with a fastball, whereas only in video games can you see this.

Both are equally tragic and mesmerizing, but one clear advantage held by video game sports is that their virtual environments allow for excellent replays. With a floating camera that can see from every angle and zoom in and out at will, these replays can give crystal clear views of bad calls and amazing plays, unmatched by televised events.

However, this gap has just been bridged thanks to Japanese imaging giant Canon. Using their Free Viewpoint Video System, it is possible to create a custom replay of anything that takes place on the field. Currently the Rugby World Cup in Japan is proving to be a great opportunity to take this tech for a test drive.

These examples of the Free Viewpoint System tweeted by the official Rugby World Cup account show how it looks a lot like a video game — partly because it is half video game.

During the real match, an array of cameras captures the field from multiple angles simultaneously and then generates 3-D data from the recordings. This data can be used to recreate plays from any angle later on.

As you can see, for the time being, the graphics are somewhere between PS2 and PS3 quality, with noticeable aliasing problems and an especially weird-looking wallpapered audience in the background. However, the potential for this kind of technology is great, not just for challenging officials but enjoying sports up-close-and-personal via VR.

Many online were impressed by this development in altered reality.

“That’s great. I’m really impressed.”
“I thought it was a drone at first. It’s amazing they can do this with cameras.”
“It looks just like a rugby video game.”
“The audience looks like it’s from Power Pros.”
“So this is how the Matrix gets made.”
“Just think of the applications in adult video.”
“Can’t we use this to watch the Olympics in VR?”

It really does seem like this could be a great solution to the heat concerns regarding next year’s Olympics in the blistering Tokyo summer. Rather than sitting outside in silly-looking umbrella hats while neighboring businesses blast their air conditioners, we can all sit in the comfort of our cool homes and watch a VR version of the games.

In fact, I think it would go a little something…like…this.

The Free Viewpoint Video System is scheduled to be used in the semi-final games on 26 and 27 October and the final on 2 November, and the processing is said to take about 24 hours after the game. So be sure to check out the highlights on Canon’s website linked below and see rugby history in the making, both on and off the field.

Source: Canon Free Viewpoint Video, Twitter/@rugbyworldcup, My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@rugbyworldcup
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