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IBM deploys AI and data science to enhance classic Wimbledon footage

Written by Tue 30 Jun 2020

Wimbledon 2020 to dust off archive footage using AI models built on IBM Cloud 

Wimbledon 2020 was due to kick off at the All England Club this week.

But just like every other major sporting event under the sun, Covid-19 has stopped play, and the most-watched live sporting event in the UK won’t be returning to screens until next year.

To fill the gap, Wimbledon is teaming up with long-term technology partner IBM to provide fans with AI-enhanced archive footage, which it claims will give fans of The Championships “something to celebrate” this year.

The footage will be broadcast as part of a virtual two-week event that will replay classic matches — some dating back over four decades — across traditional and modern digital platforms.

IBM, which previously used its Watson AI tech to generate highlights from raw match footage, is this time using AI to clean archive recordings of noise and make it resemble the picture quality of recent tournaments.

To achieve this, Big Blue is deploying Super Resolution and Deblurring techniques using custom models built on IBM Cloud.

Specifically, thousands of images from recent tournaments were trained against artificially distorted images from the same matches to bring clarity to older footage.

IBM also plans to overlay the crisper video with the sorts of visual statistics fans have come to expect from modern-day broadcasts.

Fans can also take advantage of advanced search capabilities to search for specific moments in archive footage, including individual shot types and “moments of peak excitement”.

“For 2020, Wimbledon will be celebrated through ‘The Greatest Championships’, an engaging digital experience for fans missing the sport they love,” IBM said in a press release.

“By providing a positive connection to happier times for millions of sports fans around the world, the AELTC can continue to promote the Wimbledon brand and build its reputation.”

Written by Tue 30 Jun 2020

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IBM wimbledon
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