What a difference a year can make. The first time we got our eyes on 3D sports, we saw a lot of promise during the 2009 BCS Championship -- but it was marred by technical glitches and a lack of onscreen information during the game. This weekend we settled into a local movie theater to check out a presentation of semifinal round games from the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in our lengthiest experience with 3D yet. Not a lot has changed in the theater with the same passive RealD glasses, but the quality of what's on screen has gone way, way up.
For basketball, most of the camera angles were similar to a videogame, mostly using sideline shots that seemed lower than we're used to on HDTV broadcasts. For the price of a $25 ticket for both games, it was a reasonable approximation of seats 10-15 rows up in Indianapolis; Lucas Oil Stadium that would have cost considerably more. Other angles included a skycam view that we probably liked the best, which was supplemented by cameramen positioned under each basket for a front-row view of the action and a couple of views from over each basket and behind the student section that varied in quality depending on what was going on in the game. The picture was sharp and the motion was easy to keep track of, though there were still a few times when it seemed to lose focus, especially during the first game. We've never had a problem keeping track of the ball during a match, but spying passing lanes and the aim of long jump shots was far easier than viewing in 2D. There's no mistake about it, 3D brought us closer to the action -- even from hundreds of miles away -- than we were previously used to.