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Quantel Pablo helps PostWorks create 3-D spot for ESPN

PostWorks, a New York City-based post-production house, used its Quantel Pablo and Genetic Engineering systems to create one of the first 3-D TV commercials in the United States for ESPN. The 30-second spot, which promotes ESPN's own “Sportscenter” program, has been running throughout ESPN's live, stereoscopic 3-D coverage of the World Cup.

The spot was shot and posted in just 10 days, according to Corey Stewart, PostWorks chief engineer, and depicts a “Sportscenter” anchor hitting a broadcast camera lens with a baseball bat.

“We have considerable experience in 3-D, with work on several 3-D feature films under our belt, but of course not in TV commercials because this is a brand new area for everyone,” Stewart said.

ESPN's ad agency, Wieden and Kennedy, brought PostWorks in for the project, which was shot in one day by PACE on the “Sportscenter” set in Los Angeles. Wieden and Kennedy's editors then carried out the editing on-site at PostWorks. From there, the images were moved straight into the Pablo system.

“The UV lighting and polarizing effects of the LCD panels used on the ‘Sportscenter’ set made it impossible to get both eyes to match at the shoot stage,” Stewart said. “That meant considerable matching work was required in post together with the usual color correction and 3-D convergence work. We also composited the VFX and did the 3-D titling too.”

The Pablo's 3-D integrated toolset, including color, effects, titling and compositing tools, helped facilitate an efficient Stereo3D workflow that brought the project in on time.

ESPN's “Sportscenter” program is also produced using Quantel equipment at ESPN's Bristol, CT, facilities. It's one of the world's largest HD installations based on the Quantel Enterprise sQ server-based production technology.

The ESPN commercial can be seen (in 2-D) on the ESPN website, here.