Tennis Canada Brings Unique VR Experience to Rogers Cup In-Venue Fans
VR tech developer Vantrix provides cameras and systems for streaming to headsets
By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital
Monday, August 14, 2017 - 10:08 am
As the Rogers Cup wrapped up in Montreal and Toronto this weekend, Tennis Canada also put a cap on an intriguing VR experiment that brought immersive viewing experiences to fans in attendance at matches across the dual-city event. By visiting the Rogers Fan Hub, fans in either city were able to watch matches courtside going on in the other city.
The experience was made possible through a partnership with Vantrix, a software, technology, and services provider that has been placing its stamp on the VR industry over the past year.
According to Kjell Kolstad, VP, Cloud Services for Vantrix, the project showed off two of the areas where the company feels it’s technology and services excel the most: latency and image quality.
Latency was naturally very important as fans could be watching a live stream of an event also happening right in front of them. There’s little room to tolerate delay in live sports. As for the image quality, it remains the top complaint among VR skeptics, but Vantrix feels its acquisition devices live up to the hype.
“Based on the fact that we made a tailor-made sensor and a very advanced lens with software is really giving us an edge in terms of high input capture quality,” says Kolstad. “That’s one of the things that the industry is struggling with a bit now, I think, is the quality of what people view isn’t as good as it should be and that’s what we’re trying to change.”
The hardware star of the show was the VantrixPRO25 camera which is the company’s heavy-duty, high-end VR acquisition camera system. The camera delivers broadcast quality video with a market-leading resolution up to 5000 x 5000, 6.4 micron square pixels, up to 12-bit color depth and 240fps frame rate and generates a 25Gbps hemispherical video feed from a single lens.
According to Kolstad, Vantrix hopes that its growth with sports clients will continue and that it will spur leagues, venues, teams, and rightsholders to further experience with providing unique experiences for fans in-venue, regardless of where they are sitting. The company recently proved itself on an in-arena network, delivering high-quality video from the camera lens to an app on a tablet in the upper bowl of an arena with a latency of only 400 milliseconds.
“The idea is to provide a service up in the bleacher that may have paid only $20 for their tickets but if the arena, team, or rightsholder want to provide a service that’s unique, new, and cool,” says Kolstad. “They can now grant access to specific feeds on a tablet or a phone to give those fans access to front-row footage, as well as digital overlays, graphics, stats, and potentially highlights. It’s a great value-add service.”