IBC Conference: Taking the 3D plunge

There’s no better time than the present for sports producers to get into 3D production. That was the message of the IBC Conference session, ‘Making the Business Case for 3D’. The panel agreed that with current technology, the 3D business remains a tough one. It’s expensive, time-consuming and requires a steep learning curve from everyone involved. But jumping in at the deep end, while not a pleasurable experience at the outset, can reap rewards in the long run.
“We need a steady stream of good quality content,” explained Brian Lenz, director of product development, BSkyB. “What we’re finding is, that while it might be twice as expensive to produce in 3D for the first time, that expense comes down with time and experience. The second production may only be 75% more expensive, and then around 30% to 40% more expensive after that. At the moment, different companies are at different places on the learning curve.”

Companies more experienced in 3D therefore, are able to create content for a much more attractive price than new entrants to the field – and are more likely to win business with broadcasters as a result.

The panel agreed that sports and live events remain a key driver of 3D. “Wherever there is emotion, there should be 3D programming,” added Ghislaine le Rhun, head of 3DTV programmes at Orange.

The next three to five years will prove crucial, but the panel were optimistic that as long as the technology continues to develop, demand for 3D content will grow, both in premium pay-TV and pay-per-view models. And in the longer term, around five to seven years in the future, it was anticipated that with the advent of glassless 3D TVs, 3D content could truly break out of its current niche and into the mainstream.

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