Apple's 3D video cameras spotted during NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Posted:
in Apple Vision Pro edited February 18

Owners of the Apple Vision Pro may get a lot more basketball content to watch using the headset, with the NBA Slam Dunk Contest offering a close look at a camera used to capture the immersive video.

A 3D camera with the 2024 NBA Slam Dunk Contest judges [Youtube/House of Highlights]
A 3D camera with the 2024 NBA Slam Dunk Contest judges [Youtube/House of Highlights]



One of the key selling points of the Apple Vision Pro is its ability to display stereoscopic content, 3D video that is also referred to as immersive video or Spatial Video. Now, it seems that the Apple Vision Pro could get footage sourced from the NBA viewable the same way.

In a clip of the first-round highlights from the 2024 NBA Slam Dunk Contest tipped by @lujahehe on X, an unusual camera is displayed next to the judges. The camera isn't mentioned or used at all during the broadcast nor particularly highlighted by the camera, but it happens to appear fairly prominently in the frame.

A close-up of the 3D camera
A close-up of the 3D camera



The camera takes the form of a stationary box with two lenses on the front, a few inches apart and horizontally level with each other. With this arrangement, it seems unlikely that it could be for anything but stereoscopic 3D video capture.

While the camera doesn't offer any real indications that it is an Apple-related device, there are a number of previous instances when a link between the NBA and the Apple Vision Pro was confirmed.

More NBA for AVP



After the Apple Vision Pro's introduction during WWDC 2023, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed plans to bring basketball to the headset. "We are working closely with Apple," Silver explained, with reports suggesting that the collaboration was to help reimagine the courtside experience.

On February 2, the release date for the Apple Vision Pro, Silver and Apple CEO Tim Cook met to discuss a new app for the headset and the future of the at-home fan experience, reports Sportico. While the bulk of the talk included how the NBA app could play up to five games on virtual screens, there was some discussion of immersive video.

Silver confirmed that the NBA was looking into how to add the specialized cameras for capturing 3D video into its event plans, with the All-Star Weekend being the first opportunity.

"This is in many ways better than sitting courtside," Silver claimed. "It can take you anywhere on the floor. It can give you the perspective of a player This will, to me, be how people over time experience sports."

However, there are some issues to work out before full games could be broadcast in the format, not least the expense and restrictions of production, and the use of special cameras developed by Apple.

"It'll take rethinking about production," said Cook at the time. "You will have to re-engineer everything, but it's so worth it."



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    I noticed that dual lens camera too while I was watching on TV.

    I also noticed the finger print smudges all over the glossy black panels as the TV camera panned from judge to judge...my poor OCD self had to cringe.  :#
    watto_cobradewme
  • Reply 2 of 6
    That's interesting - stereoscopic is a distinctly different approach then what Apple uses where they capture  depth of field.  Stereoscopic would still work for a 3D effect, but you couldn't as easily change your point of view or have other things interact with it, unless Apple's getting pretty good at guessing depth from stereo.  On the plus side, it's a perfect match for 3D cinema and live events at theaters.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
     It looks very similar to the camera set up in the Alicia Keys immersive video. In the video there they look like towers with speakers, but you can tell they’re the cameras because they take the perspective of the viewer. https://music.apple.com/us/music-video/no-one-2d-video-rehearsal-room/1727226825
    edited February 18 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,347member
    jdiamond said:
    That's interesting - stereoscopic is a distinctly different approach then what Apple uses where they capture  depth of field.  Stereoscopic would still work for a 3D effect, but you couldn't as easily change your point of view or have other things interact with it, unless Apple's getting pretty good at guessing depth from stereo.  On the plus side, it's a perfect match for 3D cinema and live events at theaters.
    It’s very likely that the 3D camera spotted near the judges’ table was not the only one in use at the Slam Dunk contest. I would expect Apple would have several cameras there, capturing footage from a variety of viewpoints.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Apple bought NextVR back in May of 2020, they were doing NBA Courtside VR experiences for a couple of years. 

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/14/21211254/apple-confirms-nextvr-acquisition-purchase-vr-virtual-reality-company
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Apple bought NextVR back in May of 2020, they were doing NBA Courtside VR experiences for a couple of years. 

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/14/21211254/apple-confirms-nextvr-acquisition-purchase-vr-virtual-reality-company
    Shortly after AVP was announced, Apple also bought Mira, an AR headset company that developed products for military and theme parks:
    https://www.theverge.com/2023/6/6/23751350/apple-mira-ar-headset-startup
    muthuk_vanalingam
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