It seems like it's been forever since we last saw college football in 3D at CES and oh my has the technology come a long way. ESPN partnered up with RealD, Marchon, and Christie Digital to present the LSU vs Alabama BCS National Championship game in 3D at the Las Vegas Hotel theater. We left wow'd and believe everyone else did too. We walked about the theater and didn't find a bad spot, although front and center was the best. There were a number of 3D cameras in use to cover the event (details after the break) which featured the same announcers as the 2D presentation, but different cameras from different angles. Of those cameras, the most dramatic was the wireless handhelds that made us feel like we were doing the pre-game interviews ourselves. The only gripe was that the typical 50-yard camera up high and center was not part of the presentation, we found ourselves missing the typical perpendicular shots that are a staple of most football broadcasts. This did reaffirm one thing, though, we can't imagine there's a single sports fan in the world who has experienced their favorite in 3D and not become a fan of the technology.
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This is ESPN 3D's 39th 3D football game over two seasons.
* While we are utilizing the 2D commentary (Musburger, Herbstreit, Rinaldi, Andrews) this telecast is produced separately and distinctly from the 2D broadcast.
About the technology:
- ESPN 3D strives to bring fans the closest thing to a real-life experience ever televised. With that in mind, we are aggressive in getting 3D shots that are close to the action.
11 3D cameras will be used in this telecast. They include...
- A SkyCam that carries both 3D and 2D cameras developed for ESPN 3D. (System developed by SkyCam. Carries a Sony HDCP1 for 2D and a pair of Toshiba cameras for 3D.)
- A 3D Ultra Slo Motion camera on a cart that moves along the sideline developed for ESPN 3D. (System provided by Fletcher Chicago with technology and cameras from I-Movix using Vision Research cameras)
- 3D cameras on each goalpost (robotics from Fletcher Chicago and cameras are Sony HDC-P1's)
- 3 miniaturized hand held cameras with beam splitters (mirrors) that each weigh only 24 pounds that were developed for ESPN 3D. (3D rigs designed and developed by Cameron Pace Group, cameras are Sony PMD10's.)
- One of the handhelds is wireless (or RF) which was developed for ESPN 3D (Same as above with RF developed by BSI).
- A 3D game camera on a 28 foot high mast on a cart that moves along the sideline to stay close to the action that was developed for ESPN 3D. (Custom sideline cart and mast developed by Chapman-Leonard. Robotics provided by Fletcher Chicago. Cameras are Sony HDC-P1)
- A 3D First Down Line that was developed by ESPN Technology for ESPN 3D will be utilized.
- Sponsors of ESPN's 3D BCS screening at CES are Real D (3D screen), Marchon (3D eyewear) and Christie Digital (3D projector)