3DTV Production Still Has A Lot To Learn

It's clear the 3DTV industry still has a lot to learn about production technique as a group of executives shared their real world experiences in a panel discussion moderated by TV Technology Editor Tom Butts at the "3DTV 2011 - What's Next?" event hosted by Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, TV Technology, TWICE, DV and Videography, Thursday afternoon in New York.

Jerry Passaro, SVP, network operations and distribution, MSG Network, who has produced 3D hockey games at Madison Square Garden, said he's learned the key is staying low with camera shots, cutting slow and minimizing the use of graphics.

For Mark Rodin, executive director, Seminole Productions at Florida State University, it's taking advantage of new technology, like the Panasonic camera, which has had a huge impact on his filming of collegiate games. Because of its auto-alignment feature, he now has 40 minutes of highlights per game instead of five. "Things I thought would not be comfortable from a theory standpoint are now very comfortable with that camera," he said.

Most of the panelists' 3D production experience was in sporting events, as that type of programming has been an early adopter to 3D technology. "When done correctly, 3D literally takes you to the game," said Jack Kestenbaum, director of technical operations, YES Network, who shot the Yankees-Mariners game in 3D this summer. "It's said HDTV is a window into the game, 3D places you in the chair."

Although sports is not the only programming that can be enjoyed in 3D, pointed out Joe Signorino, senior project engineer, NEP Broacast, who has produced 3D music shows for DirecTV,"It's often easier to accomplish good 3D in those environments than in big sports venues," he said.

And those obstacles of producing in those environments are sometimes significant. "To make it cost efficient is very difficult, said Kestenbaum. "At most venues, the infrastructure is not conducive to this. So return on investment very difficult at that point."

Because 3D cameras have to be placed lower in a venue, the equipment ends up killing seats that could otherwise be sold (very expensively). Passaro says devices have to get smaller and more robotics need to be introduced, which will be the linchpin to sustained success. "It has to become a business for the networks," he said. -- Broadcasting & Cable