October 01, 2010

Ryder Cup biggest live 3D production

Today is the official start of Sky's 3D channel, which is being  marked by the biggest ever live 3D production - the 2010 Ryder Cup golf (rain in 3D interspersed with some occasional shots of wet golfers). Of course, the World Cup was a bigger event, but each live production was limited to a single stadium and no more than a few hours.

The Ryder Cup production is a collaboration between Sky, Telegenic (which has both of its 3D outside broadcast trucks operating in tandem for the first time), and Sony. Telegenic's T18 OB truck is being used for production, camera engineering, sound and slow motion replays, while the T19 OB truck deals with convergence and 3D engineering.

They are using 20 3D camera rigs at the Celtic Manor course, plus Sony’s new MPE-200 3Dbox converting some of the 2D studio feeds into live 3D, so that Sky can deliver more than 10 hours of 3D golf per day (at least during drier periods).

The rigs are fitted with Sony HDC-1500R cameras, and there are twelve 3ality Digital rigs, four Element Technica rigs, and four specially designed wireless 3D camera rigs from Presteigne Charter.

Because the course is the largest venue used for 3D, needing cabling to cover some 32km, with both fixed and moving cameras, Sony has had to develop additional technology. Specifically for this event it has built HDFA-200 optical fibre transmission adapters/combiners, which enable a pair of 3D cameras to send their signals down a single fibre, reducing the amount of fibre required and making rigging a little easier.

“The Ryder Cup production has created a whole set of new challenges for us, unlike football where the cameras are fixed, a lot more rigs are needed in order to cover vast amounts of ground. The HDFA-200 optical fibre adaptor has been revolutionary as it has enabled us to build a solution of this scale that otherwise would not have been possible," explained Mark Grinyer, 3D Sports Solutions Business Head, Sony Professional.

“All of what could be achieved in a 2D environment is now possible in 3D.  Over the last year 3D technology has been put through its paces and evolved to now deliver an end to end extraordinary experience for viewers, whether at home or in a pub,” added Darren Long, Director of Operations, Sky Sports.

Here's a couple of videos we shot with Sky's chief engineer, Chris Johns, who talked about its plans for 3D and the importance of technical standards for 3D production and the issue of 2D to 3D conversion. It has made its technical specification for PlanoStereocopic (3D) programme content available online at introducingsky3d.sky.com/​a/​bskyb-3d-tech-spec.

BSkyB prepares for its 3D launch from UrbanFox.TV on Vimeo.

Sky 3D - setting the standards from UrbanFox.TV on Vimeo.

Related post: Ryder Cup coverage to a tee

By David Fox.

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