International Sports Leagues Use Multi-Camera Video Systems for Competition Judging, Athlete Evaluation

The use of videoReferee at the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Germany was also a test for the Canoe Slalom World Championships to be held in London in September 2015.

As elite European Slalom canoeists battled it out in the white water during the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Germany last month, competition judges were high and dry in the video suite, using a new multi-camera system for monitoring, judging and evaluating performances.

Organizers of the 2015 Canoe Slalom European Championships have implemented new video judging systems with up to 11 camera signals using a videoReferee system
Organizers of the 2015 Canoe Slalom European Championships have implemented new video judging systems with up to 11 camera signals using a videoReferee system.

The International Canoe Federation ICF worked with local event organizers at Canoe Park Markkleeberg (Saxony), one of the most modern white water systems in the world, to install and implement a videoReferee system from slomo.tv, which was used as an additional tool for monitoring up to 25 gates on the 270 meter-long race course.

Canoe Slalom competitors must get through a complex white water course in a very short time while passing through downstream or upstream gates correctly. The gates must be passed completely, and the canoeist must not touch the protruding gate rods. If they fail to do so, of course, penalty seconds are assessed.

But whether a rod is touched or a gate has been passed correctly is often difficult to judge during the split-second competition and swirling waters.

So video judging systems have been used by the International Canoe Federation in international competitions since 2007.

But existing production equipment and sports technical tools are pushed to their limit, and often beyond, due to less perspectives and available camera signals. Judges, athletes and fans felt that simultaneous view of several signals and perspectives was difficult to achieve and that fair decision-making was impacted as a result.

Elite European Slalom canoeists battled it out in the white water during the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Germany
Elite European Slalom canoeists battled it out in the white water during the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Germany.

Now the organizers of the 2015 Canoe Slalom European Championships have implemented new video judging systems with up to 11 camera signals using a videoReferee system. The system allows for simultaneous recording, search and playback of up to 11 HD video sources.

During the competition, all video feeds could be viewed and marked simultaneously while maintaining continuous recording. Organizers and referees report unprecedented opportunities to clarify controversial scenes, thus ensuring more fairness during competition.

Jean Michel Prono, Chairman Canoe Slalom, International Canoe Federation (ICF) on using videoReferee during the competition: "videoReferee answers our needs for a fast review of a situation while the race is still running. It really solves the problems we have with dubious situations."

videoReferee is a portable multi-channel recording and playback system; it’s been in use as a multi-channel referee system in the top Russian hockey league, the Kontinental Hockey League KHL to assess contentious situations.

Officials also noted that they could use recorded material from videoReferee in marketing campaigns for event organizers as well as branding efforts by sports organizations
Officials also noted that they could use recorded material from videoReferee in marketing campaigns for event organizers as well as branding efforts by sports organizations.

The marking of contentious scenes can be done automatically using algorithms or manually by the referee at the workstation. Using the controller individual channels can be selected or special situations can be searched and marked – all in real-time. The operator can flag selective scenes during live-recording or by accessing previously recorded material. The users can choose between the simultaneous views of all channels, single view or zoom view. Users can export marked scenes to DVD or MP4 file for backup reasons as well as to record entire sport events.

Officials also noted that they could use recorded material from videoReferee in marketing campaigns for event organizers as well as branding efforts by sports organizations.

The use of videoReferee at the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Germany was also a test for the Canoe Slalom World Championships to be held in London in September 2015.

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