Tonight’s Brooklyn Nets vs Dallas Mavericks game is notable for reasons other than Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic’s basketball genius, and it’s our first chance to watch the full game broadcast live on new technology. This season, the Nets local broadcasts on Yes Network used the volume-up video capability for “Netaverse” highlight clips, replays, and arena videos, but this time ESPN is using it. to broadcast the entire match from start to finish.
Built with Canon’s Video Free-Viewpoint technology, it uses 110 data-recording cameras placed around the field to carefully monitor player movements. It then combines that data in real time with 3D models that have been built for each player and renders it, much like how things would work when you were playing NBA 2K. That creates the possibility for virtual camera operators to show off the action from any angle they want, as the virtual camera swoops around the floor like a drone.
So far, the effect is impressive, even if the models have some rendering glitches and the arena isn’t rendered as beautifully as you’d see in an NBA 2K22 game. It’s hard to explain the amount that real player motion produces to any given particle, as it’s hard to tell the difference between this normal broadcast and this rendered show.
The regular NBA broadcast is now live on ESPN, while you can watch the NBA CourtView broadcast on ESPNews or ESPN Plus. A clip posted by NBA on Twitter gives an idea of what it might look like, but I’ll wait for the game to end before deciding if this is really the future of broadcasting.
Correction, March 16 9:47 PM ET: An earlier version of this story referred to the New Jersey Nets. In fact, they’re in Brooklyn. We’re sorry about this error.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/16/22982243/nets-mavericks-espn-nba-volumetric-video-canon First NBA broadcast shown with volume video that takes basketball into the eerie valley