US Open To Serve Up Double the 3D Tennis

Panasonic, CBS Sports, and the USTA are doubling their 3D offerings this year, treating viewers to two courts of action on Labor Day and Finals weekends.

“This is going to be an upgrade,” says Ken Aagaard, EVP of Operations, Engineering, and Production Services for CBS Sports. “We will have some Shadow rigs from CPG (CAMERON-PACE Group) that will give us the ability to go to the other court when we aren’t on Arthur Ashe Stadium or if there is a better match going on.”

Ten cameras will be used on Arthur Ashe, including a manned handheld on the wall behind the court, providing a viewing angle that will offer an improved perspective.

“From a viewer perspective,” says Aagaard, “this going to be a more complete production and one step forward in moving 3D production closer to 2D productions.”

Deploying all Shadow D rigs in Louis Armstrong Stadium can minimize production costs because the Shadow rigs are mounted on the 2D rigs. That means no additional camera operators.

“CPG is anxious to show off the Shadow D technology and see what we can do with it,” Aagaard adds.

Currently, the 3D US Open coverage will be available to DIRECTV and Comcast subscribers. However, negotiations are ongoing with other cable and telco operators. Away from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Panasonic and DIRECTV will also provide the live CBS Sports 3D broadcasts of the US Open semifinal and final matches to hundreds of TV retail outlets nationwide, including scores of Best Buy stores.

And fans at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be able to see 3D via public viewing galleries featuring the latest large-screen VIERA 3D-capable sets. Additionally, the men’s and women’s finals will be streamed live in 3D on USOpen.org, the official Website of the tournament.

“Last year, we saw the impressive production values for 3D television,” says USTA Chief Business and Communications Officer Harlan Stone. “Now, by including Louis Armstrong Stadium and expanding our distribution, we are bringing this innovative new look to the sport to more people than ever before.”

Says Harold Bryant, executive producer/VP, production, for CBS Sports, “As we saw from last year, there may be no better sport to broadcast in 3D than tennis. With our additional broadcast cameras and enhanced positions, including low, court-level positions, viewers will feel like they’re actually on the court with some of the world’s greatest players.”

The 3D broadcasts will use a separate production team and equipment from the traditional HD broadcasts of the tournament. Plans call for two special 3D production trucks and a unique 3D-dedicated CBS Sports broadcast team.

“We’re excited to get the opportunity to produce the US Open in 3D,” says Aagaard. “And thanks to the USTA and Panasonic for the opportunity.”