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3D Sports

March 7, 2011
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On Sunday I spent the afternoon watching sports in 3D from both indoor court and outdoor fairways.

3D Golf
When the players are in the middle of the fairway or on the putting green and the camera is placed low down, the viewer can see all the fairway bumps and the lay of the land. This gives the viewer a perspective to understand the uniqueness of the course, which you would not be able to otherwise see in 2D.

However, the long distance and landscape shots don’t work in 3D because the objects are to far away, so they in effect become 2D. A white ball against a blue sky is pointless in 3D, as there is no depth in the picture. There was an occasional shot that had objects too close to the camera and a shaky camera can make one feel ill.

In my opinion Golf has some benefits in 3D, but am not sure how well suited it is for a full 3D production.

3D Basketball
The camera position is crucial as when it is too high, the 3D is hard to see, but also if the camera is too close to the crowd, this can distract the viewers eye from the game. It is really important to get the camera position right. Not too high and not too many spectators obscuring the live play. When the camera is in the right position it is like having the best seat at the basketball game.

Basketball is very enjoyable in 3D, it works because there is lot of fast movement in a confined amount of space with a relative depth of field.

3D Ice hockey
The low camera behind the protective perspex around the ice provides a very engaging 3D shot, but sometimes the poles between the glass become in shot and because these are so close to the camera, it can make the 3D uncomfortable.

Ice hockey is very enjoyable to watch in 3D, it works because it is fast paced and there is a confined amount space with a relative depth of field.

3D Football
I found after watching a few football matches in 3D I could detect the cameras which are 2D conversions to 3D.

3D is great for seeing the direction of the ball, this you would not have been possible if watching in 2D. Also it provides a more realistic view of the players contact with the ball.

I enjoy watching football in 3D, the low camera angle and fast pace makes me feel like I am at the match.

Conclusion
The camera position is extremely important in 3D and makes a successful 3D broadcast. I think sports in a confined space like basketball and football work better in 3D than golf despite the beautiful landscape.

Also bad 3D can make you feel dizzy and unwell especially when there is too much mixing, the shots are not on screen for long enough so you eyes can’t adjust and when 2D is converted to 3D badly. A good director is crucial. Poor camera work/shots can lead to dizziness and illness during and after the broadcast.

I also watched some underwater 3D of fish and turtles, and would like to see some swimming and synchronised swimming in 3D. I think it would look breath taking. There are still other sports I would like to watch/analyse in 3D in particular, Rowing, show jumping and boxing.

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