Blog Entry

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

Posted on: January 9, 2009 12:22 am
Edited on: January 9, 2009 10:37 am
 

Did you know that Thursday night's BCS title game marked the first time in history a live sporting event was made available in 3D to the general public?

Now some of you might recall that the NFL experiemented with the technology during a Raiders-Chargers game in early December, but that game was only shown in theaters in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

The BCS title game in 3D was availabe in 82 theaters across the country and I was one of a few hundred to witness this history-making night at a theater in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., a couple hours north of where the actual championship game was being played.

I wanted to be wowwed. I wanted it to be the next best thing to being at the stadium. It's definitely cost effective at $25 vs. hundreds for a nosebleed seat at Dolphin Stadium.

Unfortuantely it didn't come close to meeting my, perhaps too high, expectations. I'm not even sure it was much better than watching it on my big screen at home.

I had recently viewed Bolt in 3D with my son at the theather a few weeks back and had come away impressed. Prior to that experience, whenever I had watched any 3D movies, usually at the theme parks, I saw double. I wasn't seeing true 3D.

But Bolt was a different story. It was the best 3D I had ever seen. Which was why I such high hopes for championship game in 3D. I was certain that I was going to witness the wave of the future.

Now I'm not so sure about that.

For starters, and I don't know if this was just my particular theater on this night, the clarity wasn't quite there. I expected it to appear as if I was looking through a window. But it didn't quite reach that lofty standard.

Close ups looked best, nice and sharp. But the further away the camera pulled away from the action, the less sharp it looked. I also had a problem of feeling cross-eyed at times, especially when viewing a group of the red-jersey clad Sooners. Others complained of the same problem. About three hours into the game, my eyes couldn't take much more.

More easily correctable are issues with direction.

The video feed is not the same as that sent out to the Fox TV audience. Totally different cameras and camera angles. Most of the 3D cameras were situated on the Gators side of the field and angled low, I'm guessing to give the audience a sense that they're on the field with the players.

Which isn't bad when there's a timeout or teams are huddled up. But when it's a live play, perspective is lost.

One particulary poor angle the director used a lot came from behind the Gators bench. But players blocked your view so that you couldn't see the sidelines to gauge whether a player was inbounds or out of bounds. There were also cameras positioned behind the defense or offense. But again, the perspective was such that you couldn't tell how many yards were gained on a play.

Also, unlike what you see on network TV, there was no permanent graphical score, clock, down and distance on the screen. They'd flash down and distance and then it would go away so that the whole screen would be taken up by the action. But you never knew how much time was left in the quarter unless the announcers, Kenny Albert and Tim Ryan in this case, mentioned it, which they rarely did.

Albert was too busy making silly references to the 3D. When they were chatting about a player's speed, Albert wondered if he'd be faster in 3D. Did a player's tatoo look better in 3D? Is the crowd louder in 3D? So on and so forth. Ugh.

Overall, I'd give the experience a C. There's definitely room for improvement.

If you want to judge for yourself, you might want to check out the NBA All-Star Saturday night events (dunk contest, etc., not the actual game) in 3D, which, like the BCS title game, will be shown in theaters across the country in February.

Category: NCAAF
Comments

Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2009 11:59 am
 

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

I was at that same venue in PSL. I got to sit across the aisle from the lone sooner fan that was there.  We have all gotten used to the constant info feed from fox, espn and cbs as far as tv sports go with thier info bars and stat streams and if you went to this expecting a 3d version of fox's tv broadcast i can see why you came away with this impression.  They clearly billed this as an on the field experience.  It was annoying not having the game clock but it in in no way detracted from the experience.  When you are at the game the only way that you get all of the stats is to keep them your self or listen to the radio feed on a little headset at the game.  When you are at a game and you are that close yes you do loose some of the action when its played close to the sideline you are on.  Thats just part of the experience.  You still go to live football games even though you dont see it as well as you do on tv and its still fun.  It truely felt like i was there and the fans were great. 

The game clock in most games is a picture in picutre shot of the actual game clock.  There is really no way that they could slip a pip clock feed into that stream.  After half i really didnt care about the game clock not being there.  I was just glad that the satelittle feed was not dropped and we got to see the entire game. 

It seemed to me that there were some camera troubles durring the 1st half which is why we got mostly sideline shots.  In the 2nd half the panavision crane cam seemed to be working again and you got a better view of the field.

My only other gripe was when they cut to the refs.  They should have just left us with the backside shot because when they reversed the field to show the ref he always pointed in the opposite direction no biggie just a production gripe.

wonder how nascar would fare with this? Imagine the cars rounding turn 4 right into your face....

way to go Cinedigm.



Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2009 10:51 am
 

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

Yea, it was the very first 3D game offered to the public. You can't compare a live feed to a Disney Animation. I think they did a great job and my expectations are more toward this being the future of sports. It did get on my nerves, not having the gameclock or timeclock, and I could deal with no down and distance if we could see the digital 1st down marker. I believe all of this will come in time.

Also, there was reasoning in having the camera view low to the field. The 3D quality would be a lesser quality than that of HD from a high "Fox Sports" view of the field. I am looking foward to the NBA All-Star game though. I think the coverage on a smaller playing area will be much better. I am especially looking foward to the slam-dunk contest, hopefull for a backboard camera view.

Lighten up, you were part of history and technology in the making...this will be the future of the way to watch sports.




Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2009 9:48 am
 

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

Hi NolaClap,

I appreciate your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the showing.

I didn't mean to sound overly critical, but I can only comment on the presentation I saw, not what the future holds. No doubt they'll take feedback and use it to improve future viewings, but my first impression was that it wasn't something that I was eager to come back for more of.

The "poor" views, however, is not a valid complaint. Yes, they were going to for the on the field look. Its just a different way to view the game and had they had the proper audio the audience would have felt more like they were standing right behind the bench. When I got home I turned on the recap of the game, the angles and the views of the  3d cameras caught every single score and big play better than the regular tv. I encourage you to do the same comparison.

I'd disagree with your assessment here. I prefer what the network caught live over what 3D cameras caught live. Now when replays of scores or big plays were shown, that looked great.

To me at least, the shots that made you feel you were down on the field and part of the action worked best in replay mode. But when they tried to make you part of the action during a live play, it annoyed me.




Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2009 9:24 am
 

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

Hey Frady. I couldn't tell if you saw it in 3D or if you're just basking in the glory of another Gators championship.

If you caught a 3D showing, what were your thoughts?




Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2009 1:55 am
 

Couldnt disagree more...

Apparently you didn't do enough research on the technology prior to going into the theater, which led to your extremely high expectations.

They knew they were going to have problems with angles and focus prior to filming it. They had these same issues with the NFL game, but from what I have read those were far worse. While the focus issues were annoying, they did little to spoil the look of the game. From what I understand, there were two different camera types used to film the game. A closer 3d camera made up of two seperate cameras working for each eye and a distance beam splitter camera. The beam splitter camera for the distance 3d shots does need work on its clarity and had the majority of the focusing issues. Finding a way to either develop the beam splitter or use the other 3d camera for the distance shots would solve almost any problem with the broadcast, in my opinion.

Prior to the game, they also talked heavily about not having fully developed a way to properly show graphics and the time clock. They were, from what I had read, supposed to have a camera on the clock more often. Not knowing the time left in the quarters is a valid complaint.

The "poor" views, however, is not a valid complaint. Yes, they were going to for the on the field look. Its just a different way to view the game and had they had the proper audio the audience would have felt more like they were standing right behind the bench. When I got home I turned on the recap of the game, the angles and the views of the  3d cameras caught every single score and big play better than the regular tv. I encourage you to do the same comparison.

The only complaint I had about the 3d broadcast was the lack of game audio. They want you to feel like you were on the field yet all you could hear were the two announcers VERY loud. Their commentary wasn't bad, but just too much and too loud. I want to hear the hits and on the field chat. The audio worked perfectly when Tim Tebo got called for a personal foul for doing the gator chomp after some trash talking.

I am thankful for the' opening up of thistechnology to the public even though every single issue hasnt been worked out. I (and i think most every football fan) can look past a few blurry points to see the benefit of the technology. After seeing this game in 3d, I do not think I will ever, EVER be shocked by an HDTV again. Everything else will seem weak compared to it. Rate it an A and think every sports fan should check out their favorite sport in 3d. I cant wait for boxing and MMA to go 3D!



Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2009 12:26 am
 

3D no substitute for being at BCS title game

Brian did you see them holding up that trophy in 3D. Now thats a thing of beauty.



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