So How Will Rio’s Olympics 2016 Coverage Differ from that of London 2012?

The Olympics may be over, though the Paralympics are still to come, so now seems as good a time as any to do a quick round up of some of the things that caught my eye over the last few weeks and maybe idle a few thoughts about how the Olympic Broadcasting Service‘s event coverage may change in four years time.

I’ve already posted a quick round-up of some of the tech involved in Camera Tracking, Sports Data Overlays and Augmented TV, (I can’t wait to see if Lorenz Matzat tries to reimplement some of the ideas using Open CV!), and I’m convinced the layering approach will continue to be extended over the coming years, but it’ll be interesting to see whether “onion-skinning” style graphics will spin off print/static image equivalents (the New York Times have already done interactive equivalents of course: eg How to Win: The Vault).

I’m yet to be convinced by the bullet-time 3D Effects (see for example a BBC R&D post about this sort of effect: i3dLive, [explanatory video]) but I can see it being used increasingly as and when the technique is fully commercialised (if it isn’t already? Though I’m not sure who by?):

A cheaper solution is probably animated 3D reconstruction, as for example demonstrated by Impire BestView3D or Virtual Eye. HawkEye also do animated 3D recreations too, I think?

Some of the most striking views of the games this time round came from a variety of extreme camera platforms:

I didn’t see anything about the use of drones, though? In fact, a quick trawl didn’t turn up any write-ups of any sports-drones, although the control room technology around live broadcasts may, apparently, inform the way drone warriors conduct their operations: How ESPN Taught the Pentagon to Handle a Deluge of Drone Data? I did find something about drones in farming, though! What’ll be interesting is whether we start to see amateur sports footage from DIY Drones on Youtube before we start to see professional footage using commercial drones such as the Orbit microdrone UAV.

Providing commercial access to results data seems to be one of the Olympics moneyspinners, which is maybe why I found it so hard to find rich data feeds (e.g Olympics Data Feeds – Scribbled Notes). The Columbia Journalism Review did a round up of some of the data led reporting ( (Between the Spreadsheets) and the folks over at the Guardian datablog also commented on this issue: London 2012 and data journalism: what did we learn at the Olympics?

I’m not sure if Twitter will still be around in the same form in four years time, but surely there’ll be social media engagement of some sort around the event: as a reference point, here’s How the UK tweeted the [2012] Games. How folk will view the Olympics is also changing – here’s how consumption appeared from the BBC perspective: The story of the digital Olympics: streams, browsers, most watched, four screens

I also wonder wether we’ll start to see FanVision like apps appearing (for purchase) on smartphones, with datatainment and video replay apps subscribing to wifi multicast feeds (hmmm….) within the Olympic park/venues?

PS I got bored writing this post, so it’s really just a link blog round-up… Just back from hols and already I need another one:-(

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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