Cup plans to implement new video camera technologies at the 2018 Breeders’ Cup
World Championships, taking place on November 2 and 3 at the historic Churchill
Downs racetrack in Louisville, Ky. Through new virtual reality and 360-degree
video capabilities, the introduction of the overhead and mobile BatCam and
increased usage of the innovative Jockey Cam presented by Aston Martin,
Breeders’ Cup will provide fans with new and enhanced ways to engage with their
favorite jockeys, horses and races throughout the weekend.
“Modern horse racing fans are consuming content in completely new ways, and it
is important for Breeders’ Cup to stay on the apex of the technological curve,”
said Craig Fravel, CEO and President of Breeders’ Cup. “As a result, we will be
implementing revolutionary video camera technologies in this year’s championship
event, which will bring an unparalleled level of immersion to the fan
experience. Whether our fans are cheering at Churchill Downs or in their homes,
they will be able to experience the races in entirely new ways.”
For the first time ever, Breeders’ Cup will produce a live virtual reality /
360-degree broadcast, called Breeders’ Cup VR, that will feature three VR
cameras placed in the backstretch, paddock and Winner’s Circle at Churchill
Downs. Breeders’ Cup VR will provide fans the opportunity to virtually
experience what it’s like to be at Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup and
deliver never-before-seen views of the jockeys, horses and venue.
Breeders’ Cup VR will be hosted by racing expert Paul Espinosa and include
in-show graphic elements and picture-in-picture features which will allow
viewers to monitor the races while other pertinent visuals, such as interviews,
social media feeds and live odds and entries are displayed in the background.
One highlight of the broadcast is a ground-breaking computer vision enhancement
that will automatically detect a horse within the user’s view and display data
specific to that horse on their screen.
Fans will be able to experience Breeders’ Cup VR through most VR headsets via
the Breeders’ Cup YouTube channel, including Oculus Go, Google Daydream and
Cardboard. For those without a VR headset the broadcast can be viewed in
360-degrees via the Breeders’ Cup website, mobile application and YouTube
channel. Breeders’ Cup VR is being produced by Greenfish Labs, a digital media
and video production firm specializing in virtual reality (VR), augmented
reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) content and production.
making its Breeders’ Cup debut at the 2018 World Championships is a
state-of-the-art moving camera, dubbed the “BatCam.” A cable-supported,
self-powered, and mobile Panasonic AK-HC1500G HD box camera, the BatCam is
mounted to an extensive network of overhead wires that affords access to
unobstructed aerial perspectives of the races. The BatCam is able to accelerate
to a speed of 60 miles per hour in 1.5 seconds and can reach speeds in excess of
100 miles per hour, allowing the camera to deftly capture footage of the
ground-level action without falter. The BatCam’s positioning and functionality
enables it to follow the races closely, even in undesirable weather conditions
that would typically obscure most sports cameras.
The Jockey Cam presented by Aston Martin, a helmet-mounted camera that debuted
in the U.S. for the first time at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships,
will also return in this year’s event. Last year, the Jockey Cam was worn by
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith during his come-from-behind win in the $2 million
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and the resulting video provided an
unprecedented first-person perspective to the races that subsequently amassed
over 150,000 views online. This year, Breeders’ Cup will again utilize the
Jockey Cam and plans to increase its usage throughout the weekend of the
championships to provide fans with many unique, bird’s eye viewpoints of the
races. The Jockey Cam is being produced by Equine Productions, an international
film production company based in the United Kingdom.