Object-audio workflows for traditional flat broadcasts have recently appeared after the introduction of new audio formats such as MPEG-H and ATMOS. These formats allow for the creation of object-based mixes that can be dynamically rendered at the end user depending on their reproduction hardware.
Until very recently, only post-produced content was being created for these formats but new broadcast standards in the US and Asia, as well as new hardware encoding engines for live production have made live sports in these formats more feasible.
These formats allow for a fuller, more immersive sound design and allow for some possibilities of personalisation. The issue then arises on how to capture live action from the field that would provide these object-audio workflows with the desired isolated sounds and accompanying metadata.
Current field action capture systems provide a suboptimal amount of isolation from the crowd to highlight individual action sounds and dialog from the field. And in most cases, placing traditional microphones near the action is not possible.
In this paper, we are presenting new microphone techniques and systems enabling better performance for sound capture that fulfill the needs of the future object audio broadcast formats. This includes beamforming techniques, automatic steering, and systems management of arrays of microphones.
There are many benefits to using audio as a primary method of delivering new experiences. During a sports event, it is the audio that best engages consumers with the atmosphere of the stadium, with the passion and excitement of a commentator, or with the tension surrounding a moment of silence.
The sound mix of a sports event is a fundamental component to create a sense of presence for the viewer/listener. Not only is sound suitable to create an ambient field that reflects the atmosphere at the event, it also carries important information, such as some sense of how intense a punch was in a boxing event. In soccer, the sound of the ball being kicked or the sound or the ball hitting any object may explain the decision of a referee during game play.
Questions such as “Did the player touch the ball before it went off the field?” are answered more easily by the sound of an impact than using a camera’s view from a possibly sub-optimal angle.
Capturing such sounds that carry additional information complementing a camera’s view is non-trivial. In this paper we are presenting a novel microphone-array dedicated to such tasks, offering vastly improved performance while being easy to operate and suitable for live broadcast.
We will focus on sound capture for soccer events, although similar use-cases can be thought of for many other sports.
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