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TMO's technical inadequacy

ratsapprentice

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http://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/feat...in-pay-for-a-proper-tmo-system-or-bin-it-off/

I have to agree with the closing paragraphs of this article.

I'm all for the TMO - some alterations aside.

Some of the equipment being used by the refs seems substandard to me, though.
For god's sake someone get the officials some proper in-ear monitors, the ones they currently use look like £1 shop radio headphones.

One particular gripe I have is when the TMO has to manually check to see whether someone is out of touch before or after they've grounded the ball by flipping between two different camera angles and figuring out which cues signal the current time.
It seems to me as if this could be sorted with some sort of tagging system whereby you are watching the camera angle which shows the grounding of the ball and you "tag" the frame in which this occurs.
You then switch to the angle which shows the feet/body of the player going out of touch and tag the moment they do so.

If the "ball grounded" tag is before the "player out of touch" tag then you know the grounding was OK.
There is no need to keep ooing and aahing about whether it was out - you can say with absolute certainty (particularly if you are using high FPS cameras).

(The cameras are all synchronised to a clock - the clock knows the exact time that a frame occurs... this technology is very low-tech - it's just a matter of commissioning someone to make it.)
 
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j'nuh

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I agree with you. The IRB certainly needs to do more to bring in technology to help speed up the TMO process. I get the feeling that a lot of the people who oppose the TMO system on the basis of the length of times that decisions make could be won round if we were to provide the right technology.

Tagging wouldn't work in this case IMO. Assuming a standard 60 FPS, and assuming that you know that the grounding occurred within a particular second, then you would have to glance through 60 frames and pinpoint the exact one where ball makes contact with the floor, each frame ~0.017 seconds apart. Deciding whether the ball was grounded in the 25th or 35th frame (~0.17 seconds apart) would probably be a very difficult call. It would be an improvement on the current system, but it would still be error-prone. There are better technologies for this.

Hawk-eye could be a great adoption in general by rugby, giving almost instantaneous decisions on when the ball is grounded. The maaaaaaaaassive caveat here, though, is that it is still a camera-technology, so it relies on the cameras being able to pick up the ball. It isn't a problem if a few cameras get blocked for a few frames, but an enormous problem if the ball carrier is crowded by players so that none of the cameras pick up the ball (as is often the case with TMO decisions on grounding). Hawk-eye is a great technology for many sports (and also very viewer friendly) and would be an improvement on nothing in rugby, but I'm not sure it would be the best option for rugby.

GoalRef might be a better option. Set a magnetic field around the in-goal area, a couple of mm off the floor (not sure how viable this would be), triggered when the magnet in the ball makes contact with the floor. Cheaper to install than Hawk-eye and much better for the way in which rugby plays. Doesn't give those visuals that you get from Hawk-eye though. GoalRef: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rilUXE5-ido

Both GoalRef and Hawk-eye could give us a decision within a second on grounding. Would mean that the TMO would only be needed to check on the passage of play leading up to a try!
 
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goodNumber10

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That wouldn't help with out/in, knock on et al....

The best answer is more cameras, better control. Setting a central marker makes sense time code video is easy and will clock match everything so they can run in unison.

At the end of the day nothing is perfect, except maybe myself and John Eales.
 

j'nuh

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That wouldn't help with out/in, knock on et al....
Goal line technology =grounding
TMO = other decisions

The process I would go by is:
1. Try gets "scored"
2. Goal line technology specifies whether the ball has actually been grounded and the referee is notified instantaneously (less than a second) on his watch.
3. If the referee believes there's another issue (foot in touch, forward pass, knock-on etc.) then he refers it to the TMO.

Not sure whether it would be affordable to double up on TMO and goal line technology though.
 

ratsapprentice

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Setting a central marker makes sense time code video is easy and will clock match everything so they can run in unison.

They are already - just as in an audio studio.

Imagine how easy it would be if you had the layout of a DAW, but with camera feeds instead of tracks - it would take seconds to establish accurately, the order of events.


I'm not sure there is any technology which could accurately determine whether a ball has been grounded or not?
I could see that GoalRef may work, but I'm not entirely sure TBH.
 
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goodNumber10

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Haven't you just described the sky/BT/BBC mobile broadcast studio?
 

ratsapprentice

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Never been in one, but as I'm sure you're aware - what I'm describing is not exactly the most expensive/complicated stuff.
Which is why I do not understand how the system they currently use is so bare-bones.
 

goodNumber10

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Those kind of video set ups are pretty pricey mate, but the return would be huge so worth the initial outlay.
 

ratsapprentice

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He doesn't need an entire truck - he literally just needs the streams routed from the producer's truck.

Look at the interface that the SL TMOs use - that, but with the addition of a tag feature is all I'm talking about.
It's basic stuff.
 

Mikel92

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Goal line technology =grounding
TMO = other decisions

The process I would go by is:
1. Try gets "scored"
2. Goal line technology specifies whether the ball has actually been grounded and the referee is notified instantaneously (less than a second) on his watch.
3. If the referee believes there's another issue (foot in touch, forward pass, knock-on etc.) then he refers it to the TMO.

Not sure whether it would be affordable to double up on TMO and goal line technology though.

I like the idea of goal line technology from what you've described, as long as it gets thoroughly tested and there was no detectable faults. But as you point out, not sure if such a thing would be affordable. If World Rugby could afford things like this, then I don't think TMOs would be stuck in a small room with a 12 inch television as it is.
 

goodNumber10

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He doesn't need an entire truck - he literally just needs the streams routed from the producer's truck.

Look at the interface that the SL TMOs use - that, but with the addition of a tag feature is all I'm talking about.
It's basic stuff.

Video is seldom pretty basic and real time capture and analysis of any worth will run you thousands, processing power is the issue i'd imagine, and combining the feeds into one monitor...... Like i said, i agree it's a good/great idea, intiial outlay will be high but the level of use.

IIRC they used to just sit the TMO in the TV van with the TV crew, and run them from there (I have it in my head that's what they do for BT style broadcasts on your regular saturay afternoon) they had access to everything as it happened and professionals who could help.

I guess the main issue is consistency, every TMO has to have access to the same equipoment and ability to manipulate the video.
 

TRF_heineken

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Isn't this more of a concern about the broadcaster and the venue?

I mean let's take the Rugby Championship as an example. In South Africa we use Supersport as the broadcaster, they have about 20 HD cameras around the field and a few higher up in the stands. They also provide the communications to the referees and we as the fans can hear the discussions the referee is having. They also have a microphone in the TMO box so that we can hear the conclusion of the decision. Now let's take Argentina, when the Boks were playing them in Argentina there was only 4 cameras used during the game, and the one mostly used was a wide angle from the main stand. Steve Walsh had to talk to his TMO via cellphone!!

The TMO's can only use what is available to them at the grounds to make a clearer decision.
 

goodNumber10

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Editing video is the bit that takes power, playback is cheap and easy.

Recording/capturing video digitally across a multitude of cameras in realtime with instant access and manipulation of those streams in real time in unison will take a decent whack of processing power.

We're not talking about someone editing a cheeky little video on their home pc after the fact, were talking about having a reliable stable solution in situ that has 100's of thousand, if not millions of pounds riding on it.

anyway, lets be real the solution is already there, it's how the broadcasters work they tag the video for analysis and immediate playback and editing, it's juts giving the TMO access to, and control of that which is the real issue.
 
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