3D Makes Impact at BVE

The 3D sessions and seminars were predictably packed at a crowded and buzzing Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) in London last week. The Hollywood Post Alliance may have offhandedly dismissed 3DTV recently, but, elsewhere in the industry, interest is still running at hyperbolic levels, nowhere more than in sports.

BVE 2011 was a pretty good show by usual standards, a rather excellent show by recent ones. Decent crowds, decent exhibitors, and a decent buzz in the air: the show seems to have ridden through the economic downturn and arrived at the uptick with its position secure, and is even giving birth to its own Mini-Me in the shape of BVE North, to be held alongside the popular Media Festival in Manchester, UK, in November.

For this particular show, though, Telegenic Unit Manager Eamonn Curtin comment about effective 3D summed it up rather nicely: “It’s all about depth and not gimmicks.”

The 3D in Live Sport sessions, chaired by Curtin, gave other insights as well, including the first leak of the news that Telegenic is ordering a third 3D truck from Sony Professional. The OB provider’s slate for Sky 3D alone in the coming months features Wales vs. England Six Nations rugby and the Champions League Final from Wembley (where Sky is acting as host broadcaster) alongside the two or three English Premier League (EPL) matches it’s already capturing in the format every week.

Here are some other snippets gleaned from the session, which also featured Sky Sports Senior Sports Director Steve Smith and 3D Operations Manager Robin Broomfield:

  • Lower-angle camera positions for 3D rigs have been installed at the majority of Premiership grounds.
  • Around 75,000 3D sets were sold over the Christmas period in the UK, out of which there were 49,000 Sky 3D activations.
  • Rig time for cameras is running at between three and five hours.
  • The main thing currently holding up simultaneous 2D and 3D production is the lenses on the cameras. Once 3D starts working with zoom, a challenge best described as non-trivial, then it will become more of an option.

Training is also seen as vital. “We have to make sure that the consumer’s first experience of 3DTV is a good one,” said Smith. “As a result, we’re bringing in as many people as possible to work on the 3D productions and giving them that experience to help ensure the standards remain high.”