First equine 3D shoot for Sky

Horse of the year ShowThe sixty third running of the Horse of the Year Show, which provides the finale to the showing year and the climax to the domestic show jumping year in the UK, is also the first to be captured in stereo 3D. “This is the first time we’ve done equestrian but hopefully not the last. I think the horses and the fences will lend themselves to lots of good 3D coverage,” says Robin Broomfield, Sky’s 3D Development Manager.

The event runs over six days from Birmingham’s NEC Arena, and is being produced as a joint 2D and 3D operation out of two Telegenic trucks

“It was easier to do it that way,” says Broomfield. “We didn’t want to put it in as an add-on because of the impact of extra camera positions and, of course, costs. But we think the camera angles are suitable for both 2D and 3D.

“We’re using as much 3D as we can, as we always do,” he continues. “There are a couple of angles that we can’t get into – the handheld RFs being one of them – so one of the Steadicams will have to be 2D. But we’ve got six of our standard 3D rigs working in the ring [3ality rigs with Sony 1500s] and we’ve got a couple of minicams in on the fences. We’ve also got a special Sky 3D fence that’s been built with lots of depth in it, and we’re hoping that that will look spectacular.”

There’s also a super slo-mo at the event, though the (current, and probably soon to be remedied) lack of of 3D hi-motion means that that footage will be either upconverted or given some artificial 3D depth, depending on what looks best.

All in all, including studio, 16 cameras are being deployed at the NEC and more than half of them are 3D, which is probably some sort of record.

Horses can famously be a bit unbalanced, and apart from making sure that all cables are well and truly buried (as much a health and safety issue as the fact that horses see cable and think ‘snake’) Broomfield says that there’s a bit of misinformation regarding how much horses are bothered by cameras. “Most cameras are fairly static anyway, and with an audience around the ring there’s lots going on in the arena itself. But we don’t want to impact on the event at all, so we make sure that’s everything’s dressed and well out of the way.


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