Commonwealth Games First!  <br>Boxing Wearable Technology

Commonwealth Games First!
Boxing Wearable Technology

Commonwealth Games First!  <br>Boxing Wearable Technology

Boxing Wearable Technology Trial

There are vast challenges in broadcasting a Commonwealth Games, and enhancing the visual experience for the television viewer is key.  Not only do we all love to watch a willing contest, experiencing edge of the seat sporting drama, we also marvel at the interesting views the latest technology can provide.  As technology makes life faster, more compact and is accessible to everyone, we now have the challenge of using it to take the viewer to places that only a few will ever see.  The next frontier is putting the viewer onto the field, into the sky, under the water and in this case into the ring.
Take us onto the field of play and take us to the contest, as we are now the referee.
The Oceania Boxing Championships were held on the Gold Coast to showcase the talented athletes from within the region and provide opportunities for selection in the upcoming World Boxing Championships to be held in Hamburg, Germany.  A perfect occasion to trial wearable camera technology or Ref Cam.
To gain permission to use this technology, we require official approval from AIBA, the governing body for international boxing.  Officials from AIBA were attending the championships and this gave us a perfect opportunity to showcase our vision for the 2018 Commonwealth Games boxing competition.  AIBA Executive Committee Member, Referee and Judging Commission Vice Chairman, Ray Silvas and AOB Sport Director, Phillippe Tuccelli were ready to take boxing into the future.  Telstra Broadcast Services is a leader in wearable technology and supplied the wearable camera equipment.
For this trial, NEP Host Broadcast organised the central referee to use two different types of wearable camera.  The first of the cameras to be trialled was a chest-mounted system.  This chest camera was attached to a vest worn under the referee’s shirt with the camera lens popping out of the shirt between buttons.  The chest camera was coupled with a stabilised lens and had tilt functionality.  The camera was controlled with a full function CCU via a laptop and a small T bar to control the tilt.
The Chest Cam trial was not as successful as we had hoped.  As the referee moves around the ring to gain optimum position, the referee’s body is side on and faces away from the action in the majority of the time.  But wait, there’s more…
Our second option was a head-mounted camera.  Unlike the chest or body of the referee, the referee’s head is forced to face action at all times and the eyes of the referee follow the competitors as they battle and wherever the referee is looking, so is the camera lens, nothing is missed.  We are now the eyes of the referee, amongst the action on the field of play.  
After observing the trial of each wearable camera, both Ray and Phillippe realised the potential of the head mounted Ref Cam and the benefits it will have for boxing and the broadcast.  AIBA approval was granted and Ref Cam is now an exciting part of the NEP Host Broadcast Boxing plan.

To view a sample video of the head-mounted Referee camera in action, click on the picture below:

Jane Caswell & Shane Street
Coordinating Producers