To meet the viewer expectations of instant news and coverage of anything that moves, broadcasters and brand owners are pressured to accelerate their output. At the same time, budgets are shrinking, says Mobile Viewpoint Managing Director Michel Bais.

This prohibits the use of traditional broadcast set-ups that are expensive and resource-intensive. But what about bringing Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and capabilities into news and sport productions?

Michel Bais

Michel Bais

To completely automate news production without the need for camera crew or a director is perhaps a bridge too far for now, but assisted production is coming right now. Examples already out there are an automatic cameraman, a virtual director and automated sports production of, for example, football.

These examples are used by smaller broadcasters and live streamers, but over the next few years we expect to see the large organisations embrace these technologies as well. The same happened with SNG trucks being replaced with live backpacks.

Therefore, it is important in our industry to start adopting AI-based technology today and educate ourselves on the matter. A recent example following this path is a Belgian broadcaster which built a fully unmanned news studio using Newspilot using AI.

This included depth-sensing technology to create a virtual cameraman, keeping presenters framed correctly, and providing feedback on whether they are present or not. They combine this with a virtual director driven by a web-based GUI to create cost-effective extra news bulletins.

Another interesting field of use is AI sports production. The smaller or lower level leagues of sports like field hockey, handball and basketball now get a chance to live stream their games.

You already see this happening with success using image recognition to follow the game using a single camera. AI will make these productions more interesting because it will enable goal detection, faults (yellow and red cards), corners, time outs or injuries.

Together with player analysis it is possible to create automatic summaries that will appeal to many more viewers compared to the complete game. Also, AI-based advertisement control will make those games much more interesting for sponsors.

We all know that serial commercials scare people away and make them lose interest. Playing an advertisement dynamically and intelligently during a pause in the game can increase views.

AI will also play an even bigger role in content indexing. AI and metadata is used today but most times based on speech to text. The smart combinations of several sources of data and algorithms will create a more interesting and natural way of indexing.

AI is here today and perhaps in a starting phase at some levels; but it will bring benefits because there is an enormous amount of research going on which will make products become better, automatically.

Michel Bais is Managing Director at Mobile Viewpoint

Mobile Viewpoint will be exhibiting at IBC2018 on Stand 14.F24