NAB Perspectives: CPG’s Pace Aims for ‘Zero Delta’ With 5D Model

Visit the CAMERON PACE Group booth at the NAB Show this week, and you are bound to hear the term zero delta thrown around a lot. But the zero delta, or the point at which producing a 3D telecast adds no additional cost or disrupts none of the traditional workflows in the 2D production, is not just a hollow marketing term. CPG Co-Chairman Vince Pace believes it is a true possibility and is essential to the maturation of the 3D-production business.

“The zero delta reaches two areas: the financial and the workflow impact,” he says. “If we are changing the way you do business as producer, director, or cameraman, then it’s not zero delta even if it’s free. For me, zero delta means we have no impact on your traditional production approaches and no gain in your cost. And you’re truly seeing solutions from us going in that direction.”

The solutions he speaks of fit into the 5D production model used by ESPN 3D, in which a single truck housing a single crew produces both the 2D and 3D shows. Each camera position deploys one of three techniques: a Shadow D rig (incorporating a 3D rig and a 2D camera), the 2D show taking the left-eye feed, or a 2D camera slightly offset to create the illusion of a 3D image.

Is ShadowCaster a Competitor for Truck Vendors?
Long known for its 3D camera rigs, production gear, and Shadow 3D B units, CPG is making waves this year with the introduction of two ShadowCaster mobile-production units. Although many mobile-production vendors view these trucks as potential competition in the 3D market, Pace asserts that they create new business opportunities for the entire industry.

“First of all, I understand [mobile vendors’] concern,” he says. “But I try to explain to them that CPG is not a mobile-unit brand and it doesn’t aim to be; it is a solutions-based brand. The ShadowCaster model is our first toe in the water on this, and I feel that any of the mobile-unit vendors can subcontract it. So, whether it is Game Creek or All Mobile Video or anyone else contracting out a CPG truck to do a job, it is not a competing brand for their customer. It is a solutions-based brand for their customers.”

Both ShadowCaster 1 and the yet-to-be-built-out trailer for ShadowCaster 2 are on display at the NAB Show . Built by Gerling & Associates, the 53-ft. double-expando features a large, two-bench audio area geared toward the live concert work CPG hopes to attract with the new truck. With full areas for production, replay, and audio, ShadowCaster can function as a standalone mobile-production unit.

“Coming out of the gate for us, we are trying to show that this is the best methodology [for 3D production],” says Pace. “Once that gets traction, I have every intention of selling or leasing that methodology to any mobile-unit provider that has a current relationship with a customer. How is that competition?

“The fact is that this model is unique and it took a company like CPG to make the commitment and investment to demonstrate that it works,” he continues. “Unfortunately, some of the mobile-unit companies look at it as competition, but I look at it as opportunity. They did not have to make the investment or speculate, yet, when ShadowCaster rolls out, every single one of their customers is capable of transitioning into the market under the same relationship with their current mobile provider. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Coming Off Augusta, Going Into X Games
CPG expects the ShadowCaster units to get regular work in both the sports and entertainment fields. The company is coming off a groundbreaking 32-camera production at the Masters golf tournament (which was not a true 5D production and had separate 2D and 3D trucks) and will gear up even further for one of its favorite events of the year: ESPN’s Summer X Games.

“Winter X Games [in January] was a huge leap ahead in terms of 5D, and we will definitely continue that at Summer X,” says Pace. “We are no longer constrained by this ‘less is more’ philosophy. It is now a matter of ‘what do we need to get the job done.’ At X Games, it will be all about ‘make it more and make it easier,’ meaning get more 3D camera angles and make those angles easier to get.”