The dangers of autofocus: the camera mistakes the referee’s bald head for a soccer ball during a live match!

The dangers of relying on AI-driven autofocus systems became very apparent during a recent professional football match, where the harsh camera tracking system confused a judge’s bald head. line with the ball.

Autofocus and tracking systems are increasingly big selling points for modern cameras, whether it’s animal AF in cameras like the Canon EOS R5 (opens in a new tab) and Canon EOS R6 (opens in a new tab)Sony A7R IV face and eye tracking (opens in a new tab)or the head detection autofocus of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (opens in a new tab) – which would have been useful for this match!

The match in question took place in the Scottish Professional Football League on October 24, between Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC and Ayr United FC.

As you can see in the video below, the camera repeatedly moves away from the action on the ball and instead frames the image based on the bald official from the touchline, which she confused with the game ball.

According Gizmodo (opens in a new tab)Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC have started streaming their home games live to season ticket holders (and also on-demand via pay-per-view) as part of ongoing social distancing efforts to protect fans, players and supporters. technicians when the matches take place.

The same initiative saw the club choose not to use human cameramen, but instead to use an AI-driven automated camera system in Pixellot (opens in a new tab) – a company that proclaims “AI-automated video and data will keep the sport running!”

Pixellot promises “a revolution in sports broadcasting” and boasts that its AI system means “no production team required”. However, it is clear from these images that a production team would have been very useful.

In the end, no autofocus system is infallible. Canon’s Deep Learning AF (opens in a new tab) system, iFR ATX, seen in the 1D X Mark III and the Canon EOS C70 (opens in a new tab), never let us down while shooting sports thanks to its otherworldly head-tracking ability. However, we’ve all had those ruined photos when the AF mistakes something for your subject and focuses in the wrong place.

Ultimately, no computer can ever replace the human eye!

Read more:

Canon EOS R5 review (opens in a new tab)
Canon EOS R6 review (opens in a new tab)
Sony A7R IV review (opens in a new tab)
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review
(opens in a new tab)Canon EOS C70 review (opens in a new tab)