Super Bowl LI getting player POV replays

Sample "Be the Player" footage from a college football game pitting Indiana against Utah. Image: Fox Sports

Super Bowl LI could be more high-impact for some viewers as this year’s game will feature player point-of-view replays.

As part of Fox Sports’ upcoming broadcast of the event, viewers will get the chance to experience replays from the viewpoint of players on the field. The Fox Sports Lab Initiative partnered with Intel to make the “Be the Player” feature happen without actually needing to attach physical cameras to the players.

“We tasked Intel to push their amazing Intel 360 Replay technology to the limit of what it could do, using their array of cameras circling the stadium to synthesize a player’s view on the field,” said Michael Davies, senior vice president of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, in a statement. “The cameras, backed up by a huge bank of Intel computing power, allow a moment to be recreated in 3D space, so that a ‘virtual camera’ can be placed at the player’s eye line—not unlike how limitless camera views can be created in video games.”

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Davies added that the uncommon views of on-field action will also assist announcers in better describing what it happening in the game.

Fox Sports worked with GoPro to do something similar during the Big Ten Championship Game, mounting POV cameras on referees hats to offer different angles on replays.

Fox Sports’ Super Bowl LI production will use Super Motion and 4K cameras along with three production trucks and more than 30 cameras. That’s on top of the 70-plus cameras at NRG Stadium covering the game.

RELATED: NFL will begin offering football highlights in VR

Fox Sports’ work to create more immersive NFL viewing experiences comes after the League itself has been experimenting with virtual reality. The NFL, using Voke’s TrueVR platform, offered personalized virtual reality highlights during the final weeks of the 2016 regular season.

“Virtual reality has the potential to bring a unique perspective to our fans to complement the different ways they currently enjoy the game today,” William Deng, director of media strategy and business development at the NFL, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Voke as we continue to experiment and create new experiences in this emerging medium.”

The NFL is also working with Google to produce a nine-part virtual reality series exploring game day culture surrounding various teams in the League.

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