Jul 2nd, 2018 — Michel Bais

Artificial Intelligence; algorithms as the new video director?

Artificial Intelligence; algorithms as the new video director?

Artificial Intelligence; algorithms as the new video director?


Broadcasters and brand owners are pressured to accelerate their output and meet the viewers expectations of instant news and coverage of anything that moves. At the same time, budgets are shrinking and requires innovative production methods instead of traditional broadcast set-ups which are expensive and resource-intensive. Is the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and capabilities into news and sport productions the innovation we are looking for?


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, soccer. These examples are used by smaller broadcasters and live streamers, but over the next few years we expect to see the big boys to 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 who built a fully unmanned news studio using Newspilot which uses AI. That included depth sensing technology to create a virtual cameraman, keeping presenters framed correctly and giving feedback whether they are present or not. They combine this with a virtual director which is driven by a web-based GUI to create cost affordable extra news bulletins.



Another interesting field of use is AI sports production. The smaller or lower level leagues of sports like field hockey, handball, rugby 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), corner, time outs or injuries. Together with player analysis it is possible to create automatic summaries which will appeal 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 loose interest. Playing an advertisement dynamically and intelligently during a pause in the game, can raise 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. For example, the combination with head and object detection will make it possible to find a man swimming with dolphins wearing a purple swimsuit.


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


Michel Bais

Managing Direcor Mobile Viewpoint