Sunday, October 16, 2005

Video referees

Watching the Kiwis vs. Kangaroos test lastnight... and actually all of the NRL season and Super 12... I find myself frustrated at the lack of what would seem to be a simple technological solution to me regarding the Video Ref.

The ‘Video Referee’ is called upon to adjudicate contentious moments in the game; specifically, whether tries should be awarded or not. My issue is with the multiple camera-angles they use to determine whether a player got the ball down in time, before going into touch (as an example). One camera will show the ball being placed down in the in-goal with no problems, but there will be debate over whether the player’s leg was out over the sideline. So they will go to another camera that will more clearly show the player’s legs – BUT now they can’t see the grounding of the football from this camera angle. So herein lies the problem: they don’t know at what point the ball is forced in relation to when the legs go into touch. The solution seems simple to me, why not have some sort of time-code imbedded in all footage from every camera so that times can be matched up.

I’ll try and explain myself a little more clearly… If a player places the ball for a try at 1:00:00 and the cameras were all synced to the same time-code, then if you looked from another angle to see whether the player’s legs were still in the field of play at that same point of time, then you could match the footage to the same moment in time (1:00:00). If the legs are in at 1:00:00 and the ball is forced at 1:00:00, then it’s a try because the time-code tells us that at that exact moment the player was forcing the ball down BEFORE his legs go into touch. Simple... Isn’t it?

Maybe I’m naive and this technology is nowhere near as simple as I’m assuming, but I’ve synced music software with outboard gear before using SMPTE time-code, so I feel like this video camera thing should be a possibility. While I'm on the topic of sport, referees and the use of video, I wonder how long it will be before touch-judges are completely replaced by sideline cameras - there were several instances lastnight where the touch judge missed blatantly obvious infringements... But enough of the ref-bashing, at least we won!


At 10:46 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Yea I see where your coming from. Even split screen with two or more angles would be effective.


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