Sony Open Set for 3D; Year Two Shows Technology Gains

The Sony Open, to be held at the Waialae Country Club in Oahu, HI, this week, will once again get the 3D treatment courtesy of Sony Electronics, the Golf Channel, and NEP. This year, attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Jan. 10-13 will have a chance to check out a highlight reel delivered to the Sony booth daily via satellite at 3:30-3:45 p.m. Viewers at home who have access to DirecTV and other distributors that signed on for the 3D coverage will also be able to catch five holes of coverage, holes 14-18, every day.

“We originally were looking at doing the entire back nine, but it is still a little budget-prohibitive, as the 2D and 3D broadcasts are still largely independent,” says Rob Willox, director of 3D business development at Sony Electronics. “They will share a graphics package, music, and master audio, but they will still be separate with separate announce crews.”

NEP Supershooters will once again be on hand, with Glen Levine overseeing the technical aspects of the production and Steve Beim directing the telecast.

The biggest difference from last year’s coverage will be the use of the new Sony TD300 3D camcorder. Last year’s coverage relied heavy on Steadicam and handheld rigs that required two cameras to be mounted together. This year, those rigs have been replaced by the much lighter camcorders.

“Last year, we had the 44-lb. Element Technica Pulsar rigs, so these will be much easier to operate and their use won’t be compromised as much,” says Willox. In addition, the Sony MPE200 signal-processing engine now has an autoconvergence function that ties into the TD300, a feature that will allow convergence operators to pull convergence on more than one camera. Michael Rintoul, senior integration specialist for 3ality Technica, will also once again be on hand as lead stereographer.

The complete camera complement will include six TD300 camcorders, three 3ality Technica Pulsar rigs with Sony P1 units, a Sony 3D1U as a talent camera, and another TD300 as a spare. In addition, a Sony TD10 consumer 3D camcorder will be deployed in the broadcast booth, and a Hydroflex underwater camera housing will allow a TD300 to capture underwater scenic shots for use as interstitials. The only 2D-to-3D conversion that will take place will be on a crane shot that captures shots of Waikiki and the course.

“Where we are really going to see improvements over last year is the saving in setup time because we are using camcorders,” says Willox. Fewer technicians will need to be on hand for the initial five- to six-hour setup, and ongoing maintenance will also be much easier.

Three MPE200 systems will be one hand, with one dedicated to quality control (a new feature introduced since last year) and two for 2D-to-3D conversion.

The main production will be completed out of NEP’s SS9 production unit. It features a Sony MVS8000 production switcher, a Calrec Sigma audio console, EVS replay servers, Sony HDCAM SRW decks for master recording, and Sony XDCAM for event recording. Equipment-rental company VER provided 3D monitors and other gear necessary to make the truck 3D-capable.