TV2 bring augmented reality to handball for the first time

FEATURE: Danish broadcaster TV2 has premiered augmented reality for handball fans at the Women’s EHF EURO 2018

The TV2 studio in Hall XXL, Nantes. Photo: Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

For the first time, Danish TV broadcaster TV2 has been using technology during the EHF EURO 2018 that represents a small evolution for TV viewers and handball fans. Thanks to augmented reality technology, experts Trine Nielsen and Lærke Møller can reproduce actions seen minutes before on the court in order to dissect and explain them.

While it is the first time that TV2 have used this technology for handball, it was on display over the summer during the FIFA World Cup and the Tour de France. Created by Israeli company Promtheus, the technology had to be adapted to handball, with the company designers possessing little knowledge of the game. But once the aesthetic aspects of the 3D figures were taken care of so that they would look like real handball players, the only thing left to do was learn how to handle it.

The system is very easy to work with yet rather complex to set up. It is comprised of a tactile board, on which you can see a court and players from both teams taking part in the current game. There are numerous possibilities, including creating an action as an idea of a tactical solution and replicating an action in order to implement a graphic, including arrows and circles. You can even insert real footage from a game in order to explain a tactical situation to the TV viewers.

“Experts have taken a few moments to get used to it, but now, for them, this is a wonderful tool,” says Lars Søndergaard, the TV2 director on site in Nantes for the EHF EURO 2018 Main Round.

On the technical side of things, one person is dedicated to the 3D modelling while a moving camera films the TV studio where the tactile board is located. After superimposing the image obtained from the 3D modelling, the result is impressive, giving the impression that the players can move on the virtual court at will. And the augmented reality has been pushed to the maximum.

“We have all the jerseys for all the teams and the models for the players come from the official players. We can still better some details but, for a first, we’re really happy with the result,” adds Søndergaard, who can already announce that the augmented reality handball court will be used during the IHF Men’s World Championship that Denmark will co-host in January.

written by Kevin Domas / cg