London 2012 to kit out 10 venues for 3D

London 2012: Confirming long-standing rumour, it appears that plans for 3D capture of the London 2012 Olympic Games are well advanced, with feeds from up to 10 venues currently being discussed.

“Although 3D is still marginal in relation to the larger audience there will be a few of the main events in 3D with feeds from 10 venues being discussed,” said EVS’ Luc Doneux, speaking to the Hollywood Reporter.

Broadcasters from around the world converged on London for a special meeting last week to mark the T Minus One Year point, and while the fine details of those discussions aren’t expected to be made public until September at the earliest, Doneux’ comments at least illustrate the shape of their thinking.

Given that there are 34 Olympic venues, ranging from Lords Cricket Ground to Hampton Court Palace, it’s not totally comprehensive coverage, but on the other hand adroit placing in the right venues could ensure a significant proportion of the games is covered, with the nine Olympic Park venues presumably very much at the front of people’s thinking. And given the shortage of kit worldwide, from rigs on to 3D-capable trucks, geographic proximity might well be a necessity.

It is a surprise? Not really. With Panasonic a major sponsor of the Games, 3D capture was always going to be on the cards. The questions now will be a) can Panasonic get their integrated camcorder units up to spec quickly enough that they’re front and centre of the capture effort and b) who exactly will broadcast it? That there is interest from broadcasters is obvious (and, indeed, OBS’ Manolo Romero is on record as saying that 3D from London 2012 would only ever happen if broadcasters showed sufficient interest), but there is devil lurking in the detail. While quite a few Olympic rights holders have broadcast 3D content, including the BBC, committing to a 3D Olympics is a whole different kettle of fish, especially when viewing figures in most countries remain low enough to be immeasurable.

The hope amongst many who have invested in the format will be that that will change as the marketing push for the games starts in earnest. Usain Bolt in 3D? As Aerial Camera Systems’ Simon Preston says of his 3D railcam: “It can just about keep up with Usain Bolt..for now.”

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