NAB Perspectives: Ross Video’s David Ross Talks 3D Graphics, Depth Mapping

Live 3D sports production has come a long way in just one year. Since NAB 2010, ESPN 3D and others have found ways to cut costs and improve quality while racking up a stable of 3D sports programming. Although 3D is still far from a proven commodity, it looks to at least be on its way to viability. However, one aspect that continues to raise concerns is on the graphics side.

“There is simply a lack of people who are willing to pay the money to develop the necessary technology for mapping 3D graphics,” Ross Video owner/CEO/CTO David Ross said at the company’s NAB booth. “I don’t see it happening with us and I don’t see it happening with anybody else. The honest truth is that I have far more people talking to me about the decline in interest in 3D than I do in the acceleration in 3D interest. So that is not where we are going to invest our resources right now.”

Ross considers the actual 3D graphics thus far to be “phenomenal.” However, he has expressed concerns over the way in which these graphics have been integrated into live 3D productions and sees much work to be done.

The company is featuring an active integrated switcher-server-graphics demo at its booth. However, Ross says that the graphics generation is not the issue, but rather the placement of these graphics within the depth map during live productions.

“Solving the issues concerning the depth plane takes some serious R&D and some serious dollars,” he said. “It’s expensive and I don’t see anybody saying they are willing to pay money and dish out the resources for that research. We have to decide whether we are going to put our resources towards a 3D device that is not in high demand or towards workflow problems that are going to solve problems for hundreds of stations. That’s a pretty easy decision.”