Houston Rockets' Omri Casspi and Dallas Mavericks' Gal Mekel will not be playing in the NBA All-Stars game in New Orleans on Sunday, but Israel will have a representative: Replay Technologies Ltd. The company has signed an agreement with the NBA and Turner Sports, which owns the broadcast rights to the game, for the use of its FreeD technology during the dunking competition on Saturday and the game on Sunday. Replay will reportedly earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a weekend's work.
Replay's proprietary free dimensional video (FreeD) technology creates a three-dimensional scene from different angles, even if no camera is present. The technology's computerized perspective and advanced processing offers the viewer any angle of a scene, even if there is no camera present from that angle. The technology also saves production costs, by eliminating the need for scores of cameras at an event, making it possible to provide 360-degree coverage with only a few cameras and small crew.
In the past two years, Replay has signed several contracts with sports broadcasts. It filmed the gymnastics competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games; during the 2013 baseball season, it cooperated with YES Network, which holds the broadcast rights for the New York Yankees, enabling directors of games at Yankee Stadium to use the company's format; signed an agreement with the Dallas Cowboys for use of the technologies at eight games at the football team's home stadium; and has broadcast golf tournaments. Following the NBA All Stars game, Replay's technology will be used in tennis tournaments.
At the NBA All-Stars game, Replay will use 22 ultra-high definition K5 camers, which have five times the resolution of ordinary HD.
Tel Aviv-based Replay Technologies is run by CEO Chen Yogev and is owned by its co-founders, CTO Matteo Shapira and COO Aviv Shapira, and US fund Cervin Ventures. The company is raising $9 million from a private family foundation. The company won second prize in the 2012 Emmy Awards for breakthrough broadcasting technology.
In 2014, Replay is due to launch interactive video, not necessarily for sports, which allows the view to become the director and enter the scene he or she is watching and choose the preferred viewing angle. "Imagine having a remote or joystick at home to fly the camera over the scene in order to see the game as you want to see it," Aviv Shapira told "Globes". "Basketball is a strategic milestone for us. It gives us a presence in the top three US sports, alongside baseball and football."
He adds, "Until now, we've worked with the Olympic Games and then in classic US sports. These are not the sports we grew up with at home. As a player for the Maccabi Rishon LeZion basketball club in my youth, I always dreamed of reaching the NBA. For me, this is a kind of fulfillment of a dream. Last week, as part of the calibration of the cameras, I had to play on the All Star court in New Orleans for almost two hours. I have no complaints. It was another day at the office."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 13, 2014
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