CAN Serves up Wimbledon in 3D to much Applause

CAN’s extensive experience of live 3D broadcasts allowed a focus on creative production standards rather than technical issues

On the auspicious 125th anniversary of the Wimbledon Championships, Can Communicate (CAN) recently helped to make history by filming the tournament in 3D, the BBC's first ever 3D broadcast.

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In partnership with Sony and the BBC, CAN were responsible for the 3D filming of four matches; the Men’s Semi-Finals and the Men’s and Women’s Finals. The matches were broadcast live on BBC HD and to cinema audiences across the globe.

An estimated 18,000 viewers watched the BBC’s 3D coverage, which given the currently limited number of 3D TV sets in the UK, was impressive. Feedback and reviews from consumers and journalists has been overwhelmingly positive, proving how compelling the 3D coverage was.  As well as heightening the televised Wimbledon experience, much of the feedback focused on the fact that viewers felt they could see more of the technical aspects of the game such as the swerve and slice on the ball.

Danielle Nagler, Head of BBC HD & 3D said “It exceeded my expectations:  It showed us tennis in a new and different way, giving a perspective which placed viewers court-side.  I felt that emphasised the speed and power of the tennis.”

In this first year of a three-year partnership, CAN worked with Sony to add the extra dimension to Wimbledon using an evolution of the workflow used at the 2010 FIFA World CupTM. Speaking to 3D Focus, Sony’s Mark Grinyer said “From a technical point of view, it was great to be able to show how far we have progressed since the World Cup last year. For the World Cup, we were really in a technology run to achieve the project, however for Wimbledon we were able to use technology which has been constantly improved from the World Cup through the Ryder Cup, UEFA Champions League Final and at Wimbledon. This meant we were able to concentrate on the production values for 3D. We are very happy with the output and the reports coming back from both cinema and broadcasters show that we were again able to raise the bar for live 3D.”

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3D Camera Positions at the Wimbledon Center Court

CAN’s extensive experience of live 3D broadcasts allowed a focus on creative production standards rather than technical issues. However we were mindful of taking new learnings forward to take the 3D coverage to new levels for Wimbledon 2012.  CAN’s Creative Director Duncan Humphreys commented “ I think we would look to tweak things next year with regards the camera positions, hopefully getting slightly higher with our main cameras. This year was very much experimental and as such we had to accept certain limitations on these positions. We also found that our 3D replay wipe became slightly irritating because of its frequency of use in tennis broadcasts. We are beginning to think of alternatives now.”

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This year’s 3D coverage of Wimbledon and its reception by the public and media has reinforced the view that 3D can and does provide a compelling experience to audiences. With that encouragement we’re looking forward to Wimbledon 2012 with even more excitement.

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