Must-See 3D at NAB

Here are some of the advances in 3D production that will be important to watch for at the National Association of Broadcasters show April 9–14 in Las Vegas, and throughout 2011:

Small and better
Stereoscopic camera rigs, which require two cameras and were notoriously bulky, have become dramatically smaller over the last year. ESPN’s first 3D camera rig for use along the sidelines of football games weighed 45 pounds, notes Phil Orlins, coordinating producer at ESPN, but the network has since reduced the rig (which now features two Sony Exmor cameras in a sideby- side configuration) to just under 20 pounds.

Sony has introduced its HDCP1 camera with smaller Fujinon lenses, which is much lighter than the HDC-1500s previously used in many 3D rigs, says Rob Willox, director of 3D business development at Sony Electronics. That lighter weight allowed Sony to use steady cams for last month’s Sony Open telecast on the Golf Channel.

3D Consumer Gear
Technological advances in small 3D consumer camcorders and still cameras will also be important for professional gear. During the Sony Open, a $1,499 Sony consumer camcorder was attached to about $80,000 worth of professional equipment and successfully used as a POV camera on a tower, notes Willox.

Automation and Graphics
3ality Digital is working on automating some production processes for measuring convergence and will be showing that technology at NAB, reports CEO Steve Schklair.

3ality will also be introducing tools that will allow graphics to automatically be placed at the proper depth in stereoscopic images.

-- George Winslow, Broadcasting & Cable