Disney Buys ‘Eye Vision’ Instant Replay Invention

CBS Sports producer Ken Aagaard has sold the invention that powered “Eye Vision” instant replays to ESPN parent Walt Disney Co.

Using more than 30 robotic cameras that produced an effect similar to the circular camera shots in The Matrix, CBS introduced Eye Vision at Super Bowl XXXV in 2001.

Disney Enterprises is named as the assignee on the U.S. patent for “Video Systems and Methods for Operating a Video System,” which was published on Tuesday. The document doesn’t state when CBS or Aagard, EVP of engineering, operations and production services at CBS Sports, sold the invention to Disney.

Inventors named on the patent also include Larry Barbatsoulis, former CBS Sports director of technical operations, who is now a principal at Media Management International Inc. Former CBS Sports engineer Frank Trizano, who died in 2012, and Little Rock, Ark.-based inventor Craig Matthew Farrell, are also named as inventors on the patent.

Abstract: A multiple camera video system and methods for operating such a system. The system may include a plurality of cameras located around a stadium, athletic playing field or other location. The cameras are remotely controlled in a master-slave configuration. A camera operator at a master pan head selects one of the plurality of cameras as the current master camera and utilizes the master pan head to adjust the telemetry and zoom of the master camera to follow the target object. The telemetry and zoom parameters of the master camera are then used to calculate corresponding telemetry, zoom and/or other parameters for each of the plurality of slave cameras. Video captured by each of the cameras is stored for the production of replay video feeds or for archiving. The replays may be capable of “spinning” through the video feeds of adjacent cameras in order for the viewer to get the sensation of revolving around the target object. The multiple camera video system also includes methods for calibrating the system.

Patent

Claims:

  1. A method associated with a moving target within a dynamic scene, comprising: reading parameters of a first variable pointing camera system; determining parameters for a plurality of other variable pointing camera systems based on the parameters of the first variable pointing camera system and mapping data for the camera systems, wherein the first variable pointing camera system and the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems are positioned around the scene, such that, at a point in time, each of the variable pointing camera systems is aimed at the target and a size of the target in an image from each of the variable pointing camera systems is substantially the same; and controlling the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems based on the parameters for the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems wherein the mapping data includes initial calibration data established when the plurality of slave variable pointing camera systems are installed at the dynamic scene, comprising initial calibration data regarding the geometric relationship of the camera systems to the scene, and initial calibration data regarding the relationship between the zoom and the angular field of view for each camera system; wherein a first slave variable pointing camera system is taken off line during filming of the dynamic scene, re-calibrated to adjust the initial calibration data, and returned on line during filming.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein: reading parameters of the first variable pointing camera system includes reading mechanical and optical parameters of the first variable pointing camera system; and determining parameters for the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems includes determining mechanical and optical parameters for the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems.
  1. The method of claim 2, wherein the first variable pointing camera system includes a first pan/tilt camera system, wherein the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems include a plurality of other pan/tilt camera systems, and wherein: reading parameters of the first pan/tilt camera system includes reading pan, tilt, zoom and focus parameters of the first pan/tilt camera system; and determining parameters for the plurality of other pan/tilt camera systems includes determining pan, tilt, zoom and focus parameters for the plurality of other pan/tilt camera systems.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising: storing digitized, time-stamped images from the variable pointing camera systems; and generating a video image sequence of the target by outputting an image from certain of the variable pointing camera systems in sequence according to the position of the variable pointing camera systems around the scene.
  1. The method of claim 1, wherein determining parameters for the plurality of other variable pointing camera systems includes: determining a position of the target within the scene and a size of the target at the position in an image from the first variable pointing camera system based on the parameters of the first variable pointing camera system; and determining the parameters for each of the other variable pointing camera systems based on the position of the target and the size of the target in the image from the first variable pointing camera system.
  1. The method of claim 1, further comprising selecting one of the other variable pointing camera systems to be the first variable pointing camera system.
  1. The method of claim 4, wherein generating the video image sequence includes generating a 3 D stop-motion video image sequence of the target by outputting images from each of the variable pointing camera systems according to their position around the scene, wherein the images are from a common point in time.

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