Cuban brings 3-D hoops to theater

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High-definition pioneer Mark Cuban is using his NBA team and Landmark Theatres chain to orchestrate a rare 3-D broadcast of a live event.

Tuesday night's NBA game between Cuban's Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers will be presented live in 3-D via satellite to fans at a theater in Dallas. It's a "pilot exhibition," an event that serves to underscore the belief that live 3-D represents a new alternative content opportunity.

FSN Southwest is producing the event, which is being lensed in 2-D for traditional broadcast and 3-D for the theatrical broadcast.

FSN will work with Burbank-based 3-D production innovator Pace, which supplied its Fusion 3-D camera system and mobile unit as well as the production crew.

The Pace technologies recently were used to lens the 3-D "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." The Fusion 3-D camera system was developed by James Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace.

"I think 3-D will play a huge role in out-of-home entertainment for the next few years," said Cuban, founder of HDNet. "It will be a unique experience for watching sports, concerts and special events that only theaters will be able to offer."

The Pace Fusion systems that will be used are based on Sony's F 950 digital cinematography cameras. Sony is involved in next week's 3-D broadcast, as it also is providing the 3-D projection.

The game will be viewed by an expected full house on a 40-foot screen at the Magnolia Theater in Dallas using two Sony SXRD 4K 10,000 lumens digital cinema projectors.

Pace and the NBA began testing 3-D theatrical broadcasting about a year ago when they presented invitation-only live 3-D HD viewing parties of the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

In addition, the NBA's Cavaliers and Pace offered a live screening in Cleveland's home arena of the NBA Finals from San Antonio in 3-D HD. Next week's broadcast will be the first NBA game to go to a theater.

Some believe opportunities down the road might include 3-D broadcasting to the home as well as to theaters. "It really helps that Samsung and others are building 3-D support into their HDTVs," Cuban said.
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