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Fox’s Super Bowl LI Broadcast to Include Virtual Player POV Replays

Variety logo Variety 1/12/2017 Todd Spangler

Fox Sports promises to bring Super Bowl LI viewers into the action as never before with plans to feature replays reconstructed to appear as if they were coming from any player on the field.

For the NFL championship game Feb. 5 in Houston, Fox will use technology developed by Intel to produce the “Be the Player” enhancement, a feature that displays a POV perspective from any player on the field without ever having a physical camera attached to the player. (Pictured above is an example of the QB’s view captured at last month’s Foster Farms Bowl matchup between Indiana and Utah.)

Intel’s 360 Replay technology synthesizes a player’s view to let plays be recreated in 3D space. For Super Bowl LI, Fox Sports and Intel are using an array of 38 cameras positioned around NRG Stadium to capture the video necessary to generate the POV replays. Each 15-30 second clip, which will take about two minutes each to compile, eats up around 1 terabyte of data.

“From the beginning, seeing and breaking down the play from the player’s point of view is the undiscovered country of sports broadcasting,” said Michael Davies, Fox Sports senior VP of field and technical operations. “This broadcast enhancement is like no other — it literally brings the audience down to the viewpoint of the player at the critical decision-making moment.”

Fox Sports says it may use up to 20 “Be the Player” replays during the Super Bowl. The broadcaster’s Super Bowl LI production will use three production trucks and more than 30 cameras to deliver more than 20 hours of programming daily from Discovery Green in Houston, in addition to the more than 70 cameras at NRG Stadium covering the game.

Intel will air a 30-second ad during Fox’s Super Bowl LI telecast featuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to promote the 360 Replay technology. In the spot, “Brady Everyday,” Brady’s boring morning routine — brushing his teeth, eating pancakes — is transformed into epic, highlight-worthy moments with the Intel tech. (Watch the full commercial on YouTube here.)

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In addition, Intel has teamed with Brady on a promo inviting fans to to create their own frame of the NFL star to add to a user-generated video at experiencemore.intel.com. Intel will post the best images of Brady online and will release the winning video on Super Bowl Sunday.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports in November teamed with GoPro to offer the first POV camera perspectives from the hats of referees working the Big Ten Championship Game.

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