NFL’s 3D Broadcast Impresses

3ality production

3ality Digital was behind Thursday night’s NFL 3D production (note: this is not an image from San Diego)

The National Football League's broadcast of a live game in 3D on Thursday night kept viewers entertained during the Chargers' blowout of the Raiders.


Dec. 05, 2008 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The outcome of Thursday night’s NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers was about as predicted—a one-sided Chargers rout. But how about the broadcast of the game? It was sent out to view in 3D at theaters in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles (the one-time home of the Raiders and now home to no NFL teams).

Well, we checked out the Los Angeles Times to see what its tech blogger, who was granted one of the seats at the landmark Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, had to say.

For the most part, it seemed that the 3D kept writer Jon Healey pretty intrigued by this game, which San Diego won, 34-7:
He writes: The verdict? The experience wasn’t jaw-dropping, but it was noticeably better than a conventional broadcast. The game was drama-free, yet the novelty of 3D made it hard for me to take my eyes off the screen—at least until the Chargers’ lead stretched to 27 points with less than a minute to go before halftime. The effect was subtle at times, but just as compelling as in “U2 3D,” 3ality’s concert film of the Irish rockers. The most striking thing in both cases was how much more you could see in three dimensions than in two.

With glasses donned and all, Healey added:
There were no gimmicky shots, no footballs seemingly flying off the screen. But I didn’t miss them. And predictably, there were glitches. The most notable were two multi-minute blackouts caused by satellite problems. One was especially inopportune—the picture evaporated in the middle of a commercial for Technicolor, the company responsible for delivering the signal from the field to the theater. Ooops. On the plus side, the pictures were crisp through RealD’s polarized glasses, and easy on the eyes.

Overall, it sounds like the production was a touchdown. We’ll get to hear more about the benefits of 3D on the football world come January with a similar broadcast of the college BCS National Championship game—and likely more feedback from media who will get to see it beamed to the International CES show in Las Vegas.

Gotta say, I know that with high-definition, some sports or games I wouldn’t ordinarily watch I’m more apt to check out because they look good. A 3D broadcast might have that same effect on people, at least if they’re comfortable enough wearing glasses. What do you think?



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