This year’s Broadcast Video Expo brings all the latest technical innovations to Earls Court, with a new 3D area.
New this year is the 3D Revolution area, a section of the conference dedicated to production, post-production and delivery of 3D content. It seems likely that the 3D theatre and conference stream will dominate the event to the same degree that stereoscopic 3D is commanding the attention of the broadcast industry.
For Geoff Mills, director of global sales and operations at SGO, manufacturer of finishing system Mistika, there is “no question that 3D is one of the biggest talking points in the industry at the moment”.
He says: “Everyone wants to be involved and improve their understanding. 3D, as we know, is not just about using 2D disciplines; there is a learning curve people need to go through. And the more knowledge that is passed on, the better.”
Among the 3D programmes that will be shown are the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala and short film The Foundling, directed by Barney Cokeliss with 3D by Vision3compendium. They will provide the perfect starting point for discussions around the best methods of producing inspirational 3D content.
Two of hire and post firm On Sight’s most important 3D clients are providing content and case studies for the 3D Revolution conference. Ruth Sessions, Atlantic Productions’ director of operations, shares Atlantic’s experience of Sky’s Flying Monsters 3D with David Attenborough. Vicki Betihavas, 3D producer of Nineteen Fifteen, who worked with The Prince’s Trust and 3DD Productions to produce the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala, which was shot in 3D and post-produced at On Sight, will also be speaking at the show.
Panasonic is one of the sponsors of the 3D Revolution area. Adrian Clark, general manager, UK and Ireland, for Panasonic’s AV Systems Business Unit Europe, says the manufacturer is “encouraging the industry to embrace 3D production”. He adds: “This kind of dedicated approach will help demystify the 3D production process, which can appear to be more complex and expensive than is the reality.”
Among the subjects that will be discussed in the 22 3D seminars are collaborative 3D post workflow, 3D monitoring and measurement, and 3D transmission. Sharing knowledge around production and post-production techniques is vital, according to Nial Brown, editor, BBC Studios and Post Production (BBC S&PP). He will speak about multi-camera 3D from studio to post.
“We’ve had to learn and absorb a huge amount about the craft over the past 12 months,” says Brown. “The point of these seminars is simply to share our 3D story and give lots of real-life examples - our struggles and successes - to help highlight some of the complexities and possibilities of 3D TV.” There will also be talks from Robin Broomfi eld, technologist at BSkyB, and Steve Smith, football director for Sky Sports.
On Sight chief executive Simon Craddock says all new 3D content needs to be of the highest quality to guarantee the viewer an exceptional viewing experience. “This both applies to the content and the technical quality of the production. Without the viewer receiving this quality experience, the future of 3D will be threatened.”
Some of the new products on show at BVE will help provide the tools to make sure that 3D content is of the highest standard. Cel-Scope3D’s stereoscopic analyser will be introduced on stand L20, with the new automatic logging option generating a printable report of depth budget and depth plot for reference by cameramen during a shoot or by editors during the post process.
EVS is another firm that will use the show as an opportunity to show off new 3D kit. Its DualPower product, a video codec board that doubles the recording channels of EVS’s video production servers for 3D or 1080p operations, provides extended live production capabilities including four in and out 3D channels in dual-link or single-link 3G mode, together with support for live 3D-HD SuperMotion replay.
According to Mills, technology is one of the most pressing issues affecting 3D. “People are developing tools for the on-set handling and pushing that through to post, but there are workfl ow and compatibility issues. If you take the 2D world, it is pretty much mapped out. But 3D affects things from start to finish, from acquisition to how you show it, and the technology is still evolving.”
For broadcasters, there is the added diffi culty of delivering the content. Tektronix video applications engineer Mike Waidson will deliver a talk on the challenge of delivering high-quality 3D to the home. Waidson will look at techniques for transmitting left-and right-eye images, and multiplexing the images into a 3G signal, as well as discussing methods for monitoring 3D signals and ensuring correct timing of two video signals.
Removing weak links
“Correct acquisition of 3D images is obviously the starting point to a successful 3D production, so camera alignment, optics, colour balance and exposure are all very important, but shooting two images more than doubles the potential issues that can affect a 3D production,” says Richard Brooking, Tektronix video marketing manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“As with HD, quality is everything and you only need one ‘weak link’ to ruin a 3D production.”