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1. WO2019115441 - CAMÉRAS ET LEURS AGENCEMENTS

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

Cameras and arrangements thereof

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to cameras such as video cameras and arrangement thereof. Especially, the present invention relates to cameras used in sports stadiums and the like, for transmitting and recording sports events. However, the arrangement of the invention described may be applied to activities other than sporting events and in other locations than sports stadiums.

Background to the invention

Live sporting events may attract a significant following, and are often well-attended by people at the stadium itself as well as via live television broadcasts and subsequent edited highlights or review shows. In addition, a wide variety of statistics is collected during such sporting events. Such statistics may relate to, for example, the distance a particular athlete has run during a soccer match or the number of aces served during a tennis match. Some of the information collected during an event may be collated by automated means but some information requires manual recordal by a person in the stadium or watching a live feed. Such a person is sometimes referred to as a“scout”.

However, in a fast-moving sporting event there may be multiple recordable events occurring in quick succession and a single scout may be insufficient to provide suitable recordal of desired information. Furthermore, it may be important for the information collected during an event to be provided as quickly as possible. This may arise, for example, if the information is to be relied upon by betting markets and the like. Such markets are fast-moving and allow betting positions to be traded. Prices in such markets may move in dependence on events taking place during a sporting event. Thus, it is important to obtain accurate information as quickly as possible.

A common known arrangement within a sports stadium or similar set up is to provide a camera in a fixed location - usually at one side of a field of view - which can be pivoted so that the field of view can be moved in accordance with action to captured for transmittal and recording. Such a camera is often controlled in real time by a camera operator whether manually or remotely. More recently, cameras have been developed which can move, using an arrangement of cables, in two or three dimensions generally above the field of view. Such cameras are generally operated remotely so that they may capture in detail action happening in differing parts of the field of view.

A recent product disclosed by Danish firm Veo provides a pair of video cameras, arranged side-by-side within a housing which is placed by a side of a football pitch, to capture footage of sporting action taking place on the pitch. The said two cameras are provided to complement each other to give a wide angle of view in order to capture as much as possible of the pitch.

Summary of the invention

The present invention relates to an arrangement of two or more cameras each capable of providing one or more images to a processing unit, each camera having a timer unit for providing a time marker associated with each image provided to the processing unit, the timer unit of each camera being synchronised with the corresponding time unit of each other camera, each camera having a field of view which includes at least a portion of an arena; wherein the processing unit is adapted to receive one or more images and a time marker from the said cameras and to provide an estimate of a location of an object within a coincident portion of a field of view.

Thus, for an object located in a coincident portion of a field of view, the processing unit will normally be able to estimate the location of said object within the arena at a given time corresponding to a time marker.

The cameras may be arranged at discrete locations substantially within or adjacent the arena, wherein at least a portion of a field of view of one camera is coincident with a portion of a field of view of at least one other camera.

The cameras may be arranged relatively closely adjacent one another. The cameras may be arranged adjacent one another substantially parallel to an edge of the arena.

The cameras may be arranged so that each camera has substantially the whole arena within the field of view of each discrete camera. In such an arrangement, the camera may be selected to be of the wide-angle view type.

The arena may be divided into a set of notional subdivisions.

Preferably, there are a plurality of cameras to provide at least two coincident portions of fields of view including substantially every notional subdivision of the arena. Thus, for any selected time marker, for any object located within the arena there will normally be at least two discrete images of the object captured from different locations. Thus, for any selected time marker the processing unit will normally be able to estimate the location of an object within the arena.

The arena may be a three-dimensional space. Thus in a sports stadium in which the sport may have elements of action in three dimensions, an object may be located by the arrangement substantially in any part of the arena.

Different sports or activities may involve arenas of different overall shape and size. For example, a tennis court is relatively smaller in length and breadth than a football or rugby field. A rugby match may require a taller arena than for a football match because it may be desirable to locate the ball as it ascends and descends during a particular play such as a try conversion or a drop kick.

Thus, the number and characteristics of cameras required, their preferred location and the size of their field of view is likely to vary in dependence on the application of the present invention to a particular set of circumstances. For example, if the cameras have wide-angle capabilities then fewer cameras overall may be needed to provide suitable coverage of a particular arena. Suitably, cameras may be selected for their focal length. Video cameras usually produce images at a rate measured in frames per second. The preferred number of frames per second is likely to depend on the speed at which objects are likely to move within the arena which in turn is likely to depend on what sport or other activity is taking place.

It is worth noting that while the above description has made reference to balls as used in sport, the present invention is not limited to producing images and estimating the location of balls and the present invention may be applied to a wide range of objects which are relevant to the activity being addressed. For example, in a sports match the present invention may be applied to players of the sport, implements used in the sport or pucks, shuttlecocks and the like as well as the ball in play.

The processing unit may comprise a programmable electronic computer. The processing unit may further comprise software adapted to derive an estimated location of an object by triangulation.

The processing unit may further be adapted to collate images according to the time marker associated with said images to generate a complex impression of at least a portion of the arena. The processing unit may thus be able to provide detailed data and/or information regarding the location of one or more objects within the said arena for a given time marker. Such data and/or information may be provided in real time or stored for subsequent retrieval and/or analysis.

The timer unit in one or more of the cameras may be connected to the processing unit. The processing unit may send and/or receive a signal to and/or from the said timer unit. Thus, the processing unit may provide a means for synchronising the timer unit of different cameras so that their respective time markers are synchronised.

The arrangement of the present invention may further comprise a central clock, adapted to provide a time signal or synchronising signal to a timer unit of one or more cameras and/or to the processing unit.

The cameras and processing unit may be connected together within a communications network. The central clock may be connected to one or more cameras and/or the processing unit within a communications network. Such a communications network may comprise wired connections or wireless connections or a combination of wired and wireless connections.

The processing unit may be adapted to receive information from other devices via a communications network. There may be devices located within or closely adjacent the arena. Such devices may include GPS trackers and the like, fitness trackers and/or other beacons adapted to transmit information via a communications network. Thus, the arrangement of the present invention may complement information derived from the cameras with information communicated by other devices.

The present invention also relates to a sports stadium comprising an arena, and having two or more cameras each capable of providing one or more images to a processing unit, each camera having a timer unit for providing a time marker associated with each image provided to the processing unit, the timer unit of each camera being synchronised with the corresponding time unit of each other camera, each camera having a field of view which includes at least a portion of the arena; wherein the processing unit is adapted to receive one or more images and a time marker from the said cameras and to provide an estimate of a location of an object within the said coincident portion of a field of view.

Detailed description of an embodiment of the present invention

An example of an arrangement embodying the present invention will now be described in relation to

Figure 1 which is a perspective view of an arrangement of cameras directed at a portion of a hockey arena;

Figure 2 which is a diagrammatic view of a hockey arena showing an example of cameras organised according to the present invention; and

Figure 3 which is an example of a selection of views taken from cameras part of an arrangement of the present invention.

Turning to Figure 1, a portion of an arena 10 is shown in perspective. The arena includes exemplary features of a hockey stadium as an example although it should be clear from the present description that the arrangement of the present invention may be applied to a wide variety of arenas. At one side of the arena 10 is a set of three cameras 12 mounted near to one side of the arena 10, and mounted on a mounting 14. The cameras 12 have a field of view which is coincident with one another and includes a portion of the arena 10.

In Figure 2, a diagrammatic view of an arena 10 can be seen from above in quasi-plan view. To one side of the arena 10 are three cameras 12 located adjacent one another in line and parallel to one edge of the arena 10. In Figure 2 is also shown regions 16 which diagrammatically described fields of view. Each of the cameras 12 is shown with a region 16 of predominant field of view. However, the cameras 12 are selected to have a field of view encompassing substantially the whole arena 10. Some of the regions 16 of predominant field of view of respective cameras 12 overlap, although it will be clear that overlapping fields of view extend across substantially the whole of the arena 10. Also shown is a diagrammatic representation of a notional set of subdivisions as described above, shown as a grid arrangement 18.

In Figure 3, a set of representative views is shown on display screens 20 of views which might be derived from cameras 12 as shown in the other figures.