Pyeongchang 2018

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games

Behind the Scenes at the Olympic Games 360-degree Live Cameras shoot sports footage for on-demand streaming needs

Photo of a 360-degree live camera installed at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games ice hockey competition venue
Photo: Yoshiteru Hara, Connected Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation

Yoshiteru Hara
Panasonic Corporation
Connected Solutions Company

Photo: Takashi Ishii, Connected Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation

Takashi Ishii
Panasonic Corporation
Connected Solutions Company

Every time an Olympic and Paralympic Games are held, new efforts are made to bring a new perspective to sports footage with the latest technologies and ideas of the time; thereby delivering the sporting performances and emotions of the Games to the people of the world with greater realism than ever before. At the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Panasonic's 360-degree live cameras were installed for the first time at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. With 360-degree images in 4K resolution which can even be used in live broadcasts, this technology creates even more realistic footage to bring the passion of the Olympic Games to life across the world.

360-degree live cameras delivered to the Gangneung Hockey Centre for Paralympic Games.

Panasonic has supported video production at the Olympic Games for some 30 years with the aim of delivering the ultimate in sporting action from the Olympic and Paralympic Games to people around the world with greater impact and realism than ever. Today, the needs expand beyond normal television broadcasts to other video experiences such as on demand video over the Internet and VR. With this in mind, Panasonic proposed using cameras at the PyeongChang 2018 which could shoot 360-degree video in 4K quality. Yoshiteru Hara of Connected Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation, told us about this.

"Panasonic has developed a professional 360-degree live camera capable of outputting uncompressed 4K video. This 4K ultra-high definition video gives such a sense of realism and immersion that it is just like being there. The 360-degree video offers new value in terms of a realism that cannot be experienced with normal television. The customer appreciated this, and we were able to supply two units to the Gangneung Hockey Centre. This initiative was a trial, but the images we shot allowed viewers to really appreciate the speed and intensity of the action."

Natural, seamless 4K ultra-high definition video generated in real time

Panasonic's 360-degree live cameras stitch together four different camera images to generate 4K quality, 360-degree video in real time. For this trial, the cameras were not used for live streaming, but the smooth, beautiful footage brought a new perspective and a unique sense of realism which is only possible with 360-degree. Hara says that Panasonic's technologies were behind the video generation process.

"We use high precision, dynamic stitching technologies which automatically detect overlap when the images from the four cameras are stitched together, and constantly adjust the stitching position in real time. Any discrepancies in coloring or brightness caused by individual variance between the different cameras are also corrected automatically, so we can generate natural, seamless, and smooth video images."

In pursuit of greater realism toward the Tokyo 2020

High quality 360-degree video can bring a greater sense of realism to various different contents, including sports broadcasts and live streams of events and concerts. In future, we expect to see the technology developed beyond the field of entertainment and into use for business. Takashi Ishii of Connected Solutions Company, Panasonic Corporation, says he also wants to focus on creating spaces where this greater realism can be properly enjoyed as well as enhancing the camera performance .

"In this trial, one of the two cameras shot footage at normal eye level from the center of the ice rink. The other was set upside down at a slightly higher position of about 3 m up, next to the goal. We felt that this positioning would allow us to get powerful footage that really exploited the potential of the 360-degree live cameras. We put a lot of work into calculating where to install our tripods in order to shoot effective footage, but I feel we were able to create a viewer experience that was just like being in the actual venue."

"By the Tokyo 2020, it should be possible to stream live 360-degree video in 4K. I want to build upon the knowledge we have gained from this trial to create spaces where we can experience even greater realism, and share the passion of the competition with many more people through our video productions."