ESPN looks forward to 3D FA Cup Final

UK: ESPN is deploying serious resources in terms of both people and kit to ensure that the inaugural 3D coverage of this Saturday’s FA Cup Final between Man City and Stoke at Wembley Stadium pulls out all the stops.

“I reminded the troops this morning that we’ve only been doing this for 20 months and we now see events like this as normal – and that’s pretty amazing,” comments Jeroen Oerlemans, Head of Channels at ESPN EMEA ahead of this Saturday’s game. It’s true that the fledgling channel – it only launched in the UK in August 2009 – has come a long way in a short time, and its confidence is highlighted by exactly what Oerlemans considers normal: the company is deploying 358 accredited staff in its simulcast of the Final with joint rights holder ITV, and is supplying 29 of its own cameras above and beyond the 30 already in place from ITV Sport.

Crucially, for the first time ever at an FA Cup Final, eight of those cameras (seven fixed, primarily mounted on the lower of Wembley’s two gantries, and one Steadicam) will be 3D rigs. “We’ve been planning for this for the whole season. We knew where we wanted to go and put it into the budget from the very beginning,” Oerlemans says. “And the co-operation with ITV in all of this has been excellent.”

SIS Live is providing the facilities for the main HD broadcast, which starts as early as 08.00 in the morning as the broadcaster pulls out all the stops to provide nigh on 12 hours of special coverage. The 3D coverage itself kicks in at 14.30 (when the channel also goes ad free) with facilities provided by Telegenic, and airs on the Sky HD platform in the UK and numerous cinema and other broadcast outlets internationally. Naturally, this has ended up in ESPN having to double up on the broadcast, using two directors and producers (HD and 3D), two production teams, and two sets of commentators (Jon Champion and Chris Waddle for HD, Derek Rae and Craig Burley for 3D).

“We strive to innovate, so watch out for a few surprises too,” comments Andrew Hornett, Exec Producer.



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