British Curling Live Streaming – The AP Capture Evolution
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Back in 2017, our AP Capture IP Cameras were installed at British Curling’s National Curling Acdaemy (NCA) in Stirling. The Axis IP Cameras, AP Capture software, AP Live tablet app, peripheral screens and connections were brought together, in conjunction with Future CCTV, to provide an advanced video capture and review environment to support the coaching process and performance of curlers in the NCA. Since then, the use of the AP Capture solutions have continued to evolve and in this post, I will focus on the use of AP Capture for British Curling’s live streaming outputs, both to their own YouTube channel and even to the BBC iPlayer.
To enhance this post, I am delighted to give thanks to Nigel Holl (Executive Performance Director) and Kenny More (Notational Analyst at Sport Scotland) for sharing their insights and experiences of using AP Capture in British Curling, for both performance enhancement and live streaming.
If you take a look at this video, Kenny shows you around the NCA. You can see the IP Cameras being used by British Curling, along with the AP Capture software to capture and control the cameras, along with the AP Live tablet app to review camera footage easily whilst on the ice.
Kenny has kindly provided me with further insights to the AP Capture solutions embedded across other Sport Scotland organisations, their use for video analysis of athletic performance and how things have evolved and now also branched further into live streaming of curling for a wider audience:
We have been working with AnalysisPro’s AP Capture hardware and software for several years now. After having an incredibly positive and reliable impact in our support of Curling, we have also extended its provision into the high performance centres in Scottish Boxing and Badminton Scotland. The quality of the Axis IP cameras, and their integration with the AP Capture software, have provided our analysts and the sport coaches with an easy workflow to produce excellent venue feedback.
While typically used for training performance, we are increasingly using it for competition performances held in those venues. When British Curling were introduced to the Live Streaming capability within AP Capture, we initially saw the potential for connecting coaches, often abroad supporting teams at competitions, back into the local training environment. For example, they could watch and comment on a training session while in the middle of a three week international trip.
However, since the onset of the Covid pandemic, and the cessation of international travel and competitions, we have been running a series of important programme based competitions at our National Curling Academy. By live streaming these curling events to our YouTube channel, it has produced two important benefits to our programme:
Firstly, streaming matches live to the worldwide curling community has helped add some pressure to these internal competitions. The virtual audience helps enhance some of our players ‘arena skills’ of handling pressure in technical execution and decisions making. Secondly, streaming matches has also allowed us to provide some excellent coverage to curlers, starved of watching top quality curling. We have received consistent feedback on the quality of the footage, so much so that the BBC have been delighted to take it as their online stream for the finals they have covered (take a look at the AP Capture live stream on BBC iPlayer here).
With AP Capture, we have the benefit of being able to capture and mix audio with our videos by using the network audio devices from AnalysisPro. We have integrated our existing radio mics, initially bought to support the development of communication skills, to also allow the stream to have audio context. As well as general atmosphere, this has allowed spectators to hear the tactical calling and team interactions throughout the game. Interesting for pure spectators, educational for emerging junior curlers.
To enhance the live streaming experience for British Curling, we worked with Kenny to design a scoreboard that could be overlaid on the videos going to YouTube and also to BBC iPlayer. The updating of this scoreboard is made possible with our AP Scoreboard app, running on the same tablet that the team can also use to run AP Live to review footage live.
Check out an example of British Curling’s live streaming direct to their YouTube channel here:
For an overview of the impact of AP Capture in British Curling, I will leave you with the words of Nigel Holl. Before that, all of us at AnalysisPro would like to say thanks to Nigel and Kenny for sharing their insights, along with all at British Curling and Sport Scotland for their continued trust in our IP Camera filming solutions for sport.
The AnalysisPro AP Capture equipment installed in the National Curling Academy has been set up and utilised for performance and technical analysis since the Academy opened in August 2017. The pandemic has changed so much, and it has changed how we now use the cameras and software. The analysis aspect is still used daily in training, but with the advent of “behind closed doors” competition at the NCA (British Curling were given permission by the Scottish Government for the countries’ best athletes to both compete and train since August 2020), the opportunity to explore live streaming of curling matches has been firmly grasped.
The ability to stream to our dedicated YouTube channel gave us the chance to “dip our toe” into streaming (initially no doubt to a dedicated curling audience), but those early attempts (a fast learning curve for sure!), attracted the attention of BBC Scotland. The high quality of the AP Capture footage enabled us to live stream finals of events directly to the BBC Scotland website and BBC iPlayer. Further developments since we began streaming (an onscreen scoreboard, slicker control of the cameras and live commentary) has enhanced the viewer experience, and there is no doubt that AnalysisPro have brought a whole new audience into the NCA, which is helping to tell the story of our teams and athletes as they strive to qualify for and be selected to represent Team GB at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
In these times when there are restrictions on so much sport (and life), the ability to live stream the countries’ best curlers doing what they do best to an interested audience (world-wide!) offers a whole new opportunity for British Curling, the Governing Body for Olympic and Paralympic Curling in the UK. We can now further engage with spectators, potential players, and interested parties alike. AnalysisPro has enabled that development, and helped British Curling provide a viewer experience far in advance of any of our initial expectations.