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Masters telecast a success in 3-D

Spectacular side-by-side, converged 1080i HD images from the final weekend of the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament, televised on CBS Sports in stereoscopic 3-D, was shown on the NAB Show floor and around the country to nearly universal acclaim.

NEP Supershooters’ SS3D production truck used Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras mounted in pairs on a series of 3-D camera rigs supplied by PACE. Company owner and veteran DP/3-D expert Vince Pace worked with NEP on-site to oversee the production. New production techniques, including the use of slower cameras pans and less switching between cameras, helped make the production a pleasurable viewing experience for those with the required 3-D-comnpatible TV sets.

Including the use of all the HD cameras on-site in Augusta, GA, Sony said this year’s Masters represented the largest worldwide gathering of Sony cameras being used to provide live golf coverage. Both the HD and 3-D telecast were handled with a Sony MVS-8000 series production switcher onboard the truck.

“Sony technology is a big part of the Masters’ history,” said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our professional HD cameras were used when the Masters was first shot in HD in 2000 and are now being used to shoot this year’s tournament in 3-D for the first time. Now with our 3-D TVs coming to market soon, Sony is delivering a true, end-to-end 3-D sports experience for consumers.”

Comcast Media Labs, based in Denver, made the live feed available in 720p to virtually every MSO in the country (except Charter Communications), meaning that consumers with new 3-D TVs and 3-D-enabled PCs were able to watch the broadcasts live in 3-D from April 7 to 11.

The 3-D content was also delivered to the new “Sony 3D Experience,” a consumer research center developed by Sony and CBS located in Las Vegas within the CBS Television City facility at the MGM Grand Hotel. Sony also equipped a number of hospitality suites at Augusta with its new 3-D Bravia LCD TV sets, and select Sony Style stores hosted private events on April 8 with a two-hour live 3-D broadcast from two holes.

The new Sony 3-D TV sets will be in stores this summer. The LX900, which is currently on display at Sony Style stores across the country, offers integrated 3-D functionality with a built-in 3-D transmitter and ships with two pair of Sony 3-D active-shutter glasses, while the HX900 and HX800-series are 3-D capable by adding the 3-D transmitter and Sony 3-D active-shutter glasses (both sold separately).

Like many cable TV providers, Comcast gave its subscribers access to 3-D Masters coverage via a dedicated 3-D channel that presented about two hours of live footage per day. To make the experience possible, Comcast used its fiber network to carry the 3-D production feed from the on-site truck to the Comcast Media Center, where it was encoded for distribution to its systems and the Masters website. Sony and IBM provided production technology and sponsors.

Traditional Masters Tournament coverage was available in HD on CBS (opens in new tab) and ESPN with on-demand highlights available via the Masters website.

Comcast has been offering traditional (“anaglyph”) 3-D movie content though its on-demand service and said it has seen a strong subscriber response.