The San Francisco 49ers and Foxconn Industrial Internet (Fii) have completed a ground-breaking technological accomplishment by installing the world's first-ever full-field 8K video replay system that will debut on November 5th when the team plays on "Thursday Night Football". This achievement comes just over a year after the brands announced their multi-year partnership and plan to collaborate on 8K technologies that make Levi's® Stadium the first sports and entertainment venue with 8K video capabilities.
Since the aforementioned partnership announcement in September of 2019, the 49ers and Fii have shared a congruent tech vision with 8K video capabilities that would keep Levi's Stadium at the forefront of fan-centric innovation. That vision becomes a reality thanks to five 8K cameras, positioned inside the stadium to provide full-field coverage and clear views of all goallines and sidelines, which utilize an incomparable digital zoom without pixilation.
"What started out more than a year ago as a dream for Levi's Stadium, our 8K video replay system is finally complete and we can't wait to showcase it to the world," said Aron Kennedy, 49ers Vice President of Game Day Production and Broadcast Operations. "It is an amazing feeling to see a project as advanced as this through from the brainstorming stages, to the final tests and completion. We are very fortunate to have Fii on our team as a corporate partner who shares our commitment to enhancing the fan experience."
A true technological feat, the 49ers new video replay system is able to ingest the highest amounts of data for any existing stadium to produce video in 8K. This data is sent to the Levi's Stadium scoreboard control room, the hub of the system, there the game day production team is able to route and distribute the signals to different areas of the stadium. Most importantly, those areas include the two 200x48 foot video boards, which can make even the smallest on-field details crystal clear.
"Fii, the world's leading provider of intelligent manufacturing integration solutions, has partnered with others to deploy 8K camera technology that will enhance the fan experience and revolutionize the way coaches and players capture and evaluate game time footage," said Foxconn Industrial Internet. "Football is a game of inches, but the closest officiating calls come down to millimeters. With an 8K camera, which has 4x the image resolution of the human eye, fans, coaches and referees will be able to better see a single blade of grass, some white and some green, and more accurately determine whether the football broke the goal line or if a wide receiver's toe was out of bounds. With examples like this, the possibilities for 8K camera technology throughout the sports entertainment industry will be endless."
An initial two-camera test run was successfully staged last year during a 49ers home game on December 21st against the Rams, providing proof of concept for the capture-to-consumption plan and validation that the project was on track. This year, additional tests and demos were completed at 49ers home games between October 4-18 against the Eagles, Dolphins and Rams.
Insights from these demos have fueled the collaboration between the 49ers and Fii to continue the development of the necessary technological advancements that will make it easier and more cost-effective to transmit 8K compressed video now and in the future.