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New NBA Software Could Revolutionize How Highlight Reels Are Produced

Sports and social media were made for one another, and one of the foundational elements of that marriage is the ubiquitous highlight-reel play. Every time Steph Curry drains an outrageous three, or LeBron James whips a mind-boggling assist, or DeAndre Jordan finishes an impossible lob over the top of someone’s head, a Vine, YouTube video, or GIF is making the social media rounds within minutes.

A lot of that content is fan-made, and it’s a wonderfully democratic process. But now, NBA teams and media outlets will seek to churn out an exponentially larger amount of that content at a breakneck pace, thanks to a partnership with Israeli company WSC Sports, which has produced an editing software program called AVGEN that they claim has automated much of the process of producing highlight-reel videos. Via Kwame Opam of The Verge:

On a basic level, AVGEN is software that automates the video editing process that creates highlight reels. According to Aviv Arnon, WSC’s VP of business development, “We analyze the video itself to figure out where the players are on the court, where movement is, [and] do audio analysis to figure out the perfect ins and outs for every moment.” That means analyzing fans screaming in the stands and color commentary, as well as player stats to determine what plays meant for the game as a whole. Most importantly, the software uses image recognition to also identify players and the types of plays being made. So if an outlet wanted to create a highlight reel of DeAndre Jordan’s slam dunks, they’d simply need to specify those terms in AVGEN before getting a clip minutes later. That clip can then be shared to the waiting eyes on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter on the fly, ready for easy consumption. Which is great, since the NBA has 3 billion cumulative views on YouTube alone.

The software was beta-tested in the D-League last season, and the NBA considered it an enormous success. One of its key features is the sheer amount of data it’s able to process, so that it’s able to quickly produce highlight reels for even the most obscure players, which would be a major boon for local markets looking to glamorize lesser-known talent. The company went on to say that the software could eventually be made available to fans, which would once again revolutionize how sports highlights are produced, distributed, and shared in the Digital Age.

(Via The Verge)

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