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Tag Archives: BCS Championship

The 2009 BCS Championship was the first 3D sports broadcast open to consumers.

No form of entertainment will do more to feed home viewers’ appetite for 3D than sports. Sports are compelling, dynamic, and downright pulse-pounding. And fans are, well, fanatical.

But they are also fickle, which creates a challenge for 3D sports broadcasters. All the action that makes a sporting event so exciting to watch also makes it incredibly difficult to produce pristinely. With no second takes and no marks for the “actors” to hit, there’s little room for error in image capture and transmission.  Shooting and broadcasting in 3D requires systems with rock-solid reliability, easily repeatable configurations, and a high degree of automation.   After all, if you screw up the “money shot” in a sports broadcast, you don’t get a second chance, and you certainly can’t “fix it in post.”

That new third dimension also presents challenges that were solved long ago for 2D broadcasts:  Where do you place the graphics?  How do you handle quick cuts from one hot spot to another?  How do you generate instant replays in slow-mo?  The flexibility and adaptability provided by camera rigs integrated with software-based 3D image processing become key.  Using mechanical 3D rigs that require manual settings won’t get you to the goal line:  it’s like playing the game with your third-string QB.

Given all the interest in 3D sports broadcasting being generated by the upcoming Winter Olympics, World Cup soccer events and the 2010 launch of Sky’s 3D channel with its heavy emphasis on sports, this is a critical moment for the medium.

The industry needs to deliver a state-of-the-art experience to the fans of global sporting events. If it does, game over: 3D is a bona fide hit with home viewers. If it doesn’t, even the medium’s most ardent supporters will be left with a (literal) headache and the disappointment of a pivotal opportunity lost.

Sky Trials 3D Broadcasts at the O2
World Cup Games To Be Filmed in 3D
Sports in a new dimension

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3ality Digital camera rig on field in San Diego

3ality Digital camera rig on field in San Diego

You may have heard the news — on December 4th, 3ality Digital partnered with the NFL to deliver the first live 3D broadcast of an NFL game.  The game was shown to invited guests at three RealD-enabled theaters in LA, NYC and Boston.  The reaction?  Enthusiastic kudos from both the NFL and viewers, and accolades like “a transformative moment in our culture” and “groundbreaking” from the press.

We’re delighted to announce that once was not enough.  3ality Digital has partnered with Fox Sports, Sony and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. for a live 3D broadcast of the FedEx BCS Championship Game to 80 theaters across 35 states on January 8th.  This marks the first time that a live 3D broadcast will be available to consumers across the country, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring it to you.   We’ve got 10 years of development behind our pixel-perfect image capture, processing and transmission technologies, and we expect the game experience to be incredible.

We announced the partnership this morning in NYC at the Sports Video Group League Technology Conference.  To see the press release, click here.

And for a list of theaters where the broadcast will be available, click here.  Hopefully there’s one in your neighborhood. (And in this case, “your neighborhood” could include anything within 200 miles — football in 3D is that good!)