Double standard for Italian broadcaster La7

Italy: SVG Europe’s Italian Correspondent, Roberto Landini, examines the recent 2D/3D production of Italian international rugby undertaken by La7.

There are two main trends in 3D at the moment: on one side some prefer backwards-compatible transmissions, among them Italian national public and commercial broadcasters, such as RAI, Mediaset and others. On the other hand there are other broadcasters, such as SKY Italia, who are convinced it is far better to use two separate and distinguished broadcast transmissions, one in 2D and the other in 3D.

Only those who can count on the availability and bandwidth of satellite transmission can chose to broadcast the same TV programme on two separate independent transmissions, while those who are compressed by the typical narrowband and lack of available terrestrial digital channels, like Italian DVB-T, are obliged to opt for the backwards compatibility which allows them to use the same channel for both separate transmission systems and so to save a lot of bandwidth.

Broadcasting two separate channels requires almost double the bitrate, even if during shooting dedicated codecs are deployed as the best way to optimize the two separate bi-tri-dimensional AV signals.

The Italian network La7, though not openly favourable to backwards compatible broadcasts, experimented with the technique during coverage of international rugby fixtures in the last months of last year in Verona, Firenze and Modena. The Firenze match between Italia and Australia was also distributed in 3D stereo to some 32 cinemas using Sensio coding technologies accompanied by Dolby 5.1 audio signals, remotely controlled by the Open Sky Network Operation Centre of Vicenza.

The broadcasts were based around Grass Valley Kalypso and Kayak Grass vision mixers, 14 Grass Valley HD 2D cameras (1- LDK8000 and two LDK 8200 super slow motion ready) and EVS and BLT equipment; mobile cranes by Polecam were used for ‘unreal’ points of view, mounted with Toshiba mini HD cameras and Canon lenses of 500mm focal length. For the 3D, the TV crews used 4 twin GV LDK 8000 cameras on Swiss-Rig rigs, plus another rig using two GV LDK 8000 cameras side by side, and a couple of other micro cameras by Iconix placed on a mini rig and on steadicam.

Furthermore, all 2D cameras were ready for 3D shooting by making use of virtual realtime computing via 3Ality Digital processors. The whole stereo operation was live controlled by three stereographers staring at their ample 3D monitors, ready to verify the algorithms involved applied to the images and ready to correct any possible fault just like parallax and convergence issues.

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