One Bundesliga Match in 3D on Every Match Day

Regular 3D Broadcasts of the German Bundesliga have started

Eleven month ago on 23 February 2010 TopVision started with a first 3D trial by covering the UEFA Champions League match VFB Stuttgart – FC Barcelona and three weeks later DFL and Sportcast produced the Bundesliga match Bayer Leverkusen – Hamburger SV together with TopVision in 3D. Since that Sportcast has carried out four more 3D trials in Germany with TopVision (DFB Cup matches Bayern Munich – Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt – Hamburger SV, FC Augsburg – Schalke 04) and with WIGE (Herta BSC Berlin – MSV Duisburg). And on 16 January Sportcast started with the regular 3D productions with the match 1.FC Cologne – 1.FC Kaiserslautern followed by the match Borusia Mönchengladbach – Bayer Leverkusen on 23 January.

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The next matches on the 3D agenda are Eintracht Frankfurt – Borussia Mönchengladbach on 30th January, Hamburger SV – FC St. Pauli on 6th February and Werder Bremen – Hannover 96 on 13th February. The 3D matches will be transmitted in the “Side-by-Side” format where the two images for the left and the right eye are housed in one frame. This has the advantage that the signal can be received with conventional HD set-top boxes. The matches are delivered to the subscribers of Sky Germany (satellite and cable) and to T-Entertain’s IPTV platform subscribers of Liga Total.

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The match in Mönchengladbach was covered with with eight camera pairs on 3D rigs from various manufacturers. Camera pairs #1 and #2 were Sony HDC-1500’s mounted on side-by-side rigs from Stereotec and positioned on a purpose built camera platform about 3 meters below the traditional HD camera platforms.

Camera pair #3 consisted of two HDC-1500’s mounted on the Element Technica “Quasar” mirror rig while camera pair #4 saw two Sony HDC-P1’s on a Steadicam with a Chroma mirror rig. Camera pair #5 saw a GFM crane from PMT with a Stereotec mirror rig and two HDC-1500’s mounted on a PMT MiniMote remote head. Camera pair #6 (again two HDC-1500’s) was composed of a swissRig with Chroma mirror. Finally the “behind the goal” pairs #7 and #8 were made up of HD 1200 mini cameras from LMP fixed on Stereotec’s “mini” side-by-side rigs. All the HDC-1500/P1 cameras were equipped with Canon zoom lenses.

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Because TopVision was also commissioned by Sportcast to produce the 2D HD signal three trucks were on side. TopVision’s HD Ü5 was producing the 2D HD signal, however the camera shading for the 3D camera pairs and the 2D cameras, all the EVS SloMo operations and the production of the 5.1 surround sound were carried out there. In the related tender truck the 3D production area is housed and in an additional tender truck TopVision has implemented the working area for the convergence engineers and the stereographers. This truck arrived one day before the match at the stadium to set up the 3D rigs and to align the stereo camera pairs.

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OBVan Compound with the three TopVision trucks

During the match the 3D director in the 3D production area also has the choice to integrate some of the 2D camera signals (up-converted to 3D via the Sony MPE-200 box) in his story telling. Because also in the 3D production you should not penalize the viewer by eliminating a 2D shot which has a certain impact on telling the story of the match. Therefore next to the 3D director the 3D SloMo operator is placed in the 3D production area. He has access to all the SloMo sequences prepared by the SloMo operators in the SloMo area in the HD truck. His close positioning to the director enables him to always select the 3D replays that best fit the 3D story of the match.

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3D Production Area with 3D director Jürgen Schmitz and 3D SloMo operator Uwe Philippi

For the 3D coverage of the match in Mönchengladbach Jürgen Schmitz was the responsible director. And prior to the kick-off he gathered his camera man to explain his view on the 3D production, reminding them what he has learnt from the 3D production the week before and made clear that coverage in 3D is different from coverage in 2D and that his aim is to improve the quality of the 3D coverage with every match. “Currently we are all still in learning mode, however the creative possibilities to tell the story of a match in 3D are much more advanced then telling the story in 2D”, Jürgen Schmitz explained.

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3D director Jürgen Schmitz and his 3D camera men at the briefing meeting

There is still more work to do to make 3D production an everyday occurrence. And to put 3D in context we should remember how long it took HD production to take hold after its introduction decades ago.

However 3D only took off a year ago. While many people argue that HD and 3D are markedly different and cannot be compared, distinct similarities become obvious if you spend a couple of weeks at various 3D productions: It is exactly the same as it was when HD started – all the production crews are in learning mode and in 2011 all these early adaptors will achieve the next logical step to make this business a valid business. And by the way: There are always a lot of naysayers and there were naysayers before, however all the forward thinking crews were not worried about that during the transition from SD to HD. And if you feel the enthusiasms of the stereographers, the convergence engineers, the cameramen and all the other specialists involved in a live 3D production you know it’s happening again: HD will transform to 3D.

In addition to the distribution via satellite and cable to the set-top boxes at home Sky Germany is showing the 3D signal of the matches also in 20 selected pubs and clubs across Germany. Fans and spectators who like to get the 3D experience firsthand can visit the following Sky Sports Bars:

• Berlin: Alt-Berliner Biersalon, Kurfürstendamm 225/226, 10771 Berlin
• München: Cafe an der Uni, Ludwigstr. 24, 80539 München
• Hamburg: Gecko Bar, Von-Sauer-Str. 22, 22761 Hamburg
• Hamburg: Bar SameSame, Alsterdorfer Str. 18-20, 22299 Hamburg
• Stuttgart: Palm Beach, Mercedesstr. 73b, 70372 Stuttgart
• Dortmund: Strobels, Strobelallee. 50, 44139 Dortmund
• Köln: Jameson Distillery Pub, Friesenstr. 30-40, 50670 Köln
• Frankfurt: O Reillys, Am Hauptbahnhof 4, 60329 Frankfurt
• Düsseldorf: Mojo Bar, Hunsrückenstr. 16, 40213 Düsseldorf
• Leverkusen: Touch Down, Düsseldorfer Str. 57, 51379 Leverkusen
• Hannover: HBX am Aegi, Osterstr. 63, 30159 Hannover
• Freiburg: Tacheles, Grünwälderstr. 17, 79098 Freiburg
• Bremen: Hegartys, Ostertorsteinweg 80, 28203 Bremen
• Wolfsburg: Soccafive Arena, Allerpark 1, 38448 Wolfsburg
• Nürnberg: Gutmann am Dutzendteich, Bayernstr. 150, 90478 Nürnberg
• Mönchengladbach: Markt 26, Alter Markt 26, 41061 Mönchengladbach
• Gelsenkirchen: Destille, Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 317, 45897 Gelsenkirchen
• Sinsheim: Haus Quints, Bahnhofstr. 14, 74889 Sinsheim
• Kaiserslautern: Sogoon Soccafive Arena, Am Warmfreibad 3, 67657 Kaiserslautern

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