Grammys Get Big Numbers

3D tribute transmitted smoothly

LOS ANGELES: Around 26 million people watched the Grammys last night, early numbers indicate. The preliminary Nielsen numbers represent a 35 percent increase over 2009. The ceremony, featuring performances by Lady Gaga with Elton John, Pink, Beyonce and the Black-eyed Peas, averaged a 9.8 rating among viewers 18-to-49. The show ran from 8 to 11:30 p.m.

The live telecast (save a 10-second obscenity delay imposed by CBS), featured a tribute to the late Michael Jackson that included anaglyph 3D video. The 3D video was played on a stage screen behind live performers singing Jackson’s “Earth Song” with a recording of him. A cut to the audience showed Beyonce earnestly watching the scene in her designer gown and color-coded, cardboard 3D glasses. The video was to have been part of Jackson’s “This is It” concert tour. (Below, Grammy audio engineers watch in 3D glasses, L-to-R, playback operator Eric Johnston, sweetener Bob Lamasne, and legendary audio engineer and musician Phil Ramone, who’s won 15 Grammys himself.)

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The 3D effect was somewhat evident on a large-screen HDTV even with polarized 3D movie glasses, possibly due to Pulfrich effect, according to video expert Mark Schubin. The Pulfrich effect is caused by a sort of time-delay created by different chemical processes used to register vision when one eye is covered by a darkened lens. The effect during the Grammy clip was sporadic and gave the impression of a diorama, though it was difficult to fully assess the effect because the clip was only full-screen for a few seconds at a time before the director cut back to the performers on stage. -- Deborah D. McAdams

(Poster image by William Couch)