Execs address 3D sports coverage at NAB

Panel says that good storytelling is key

LAS VEGAS -- Top execs in broadcast sports emphasized that 3D coverage must center on storytelling in an appearance Wednesday at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas.

"It's got to tell the story; you can't trade production value for editorial value," said Peter Angell, director of production at Host Broadcasting Services, which is spearheading the 3D coverage of the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

He added that the production model, meanwhile, has many challenges.

"3D is no longer a purely technical challenge. The challenge is now a production model -- getting the right people, the right experience and the right training to deliver a good 3D production.

"None of us can afford to do bad 3D," he warned, noting that it could sour audiences to the format.

Angell is currently leading an effort to produce 25 FIFA matches in 3D, which will be lensed at five out of the 10 FIFA World Cup stadiums in South Africa, beginning June 11.

Ken Aagaard, executive vp operations and production at CBS Sports, discussed recent Final Four 3D coverage and noted that big ticket sporting events such as these would be key for these early stereo broadcasts.

"We need to be able get a splash since the manufacturers are sponsoring our effort," he said. "I think it will be key for those sponsorships to continue. And it is the high-end events that we really need to jump into (in order to attract audiences)."

Noting that the Final Four and 3D Masters coverage appeared in the same time frame, George Hoover, CTO of teleproduction service provider NEP, observed that more hardware for 3D production is needed to accommodate multiple productions.

Steve Hellmuth, executive vp operations and technology at NBA Entertainment, related that the basketball association is working on a 3D NBA highlights film, using footage from several previously 3D-produced NBA games. But when it comes to content for the home, he commented that while big ticket events might have a captive audience, that is not always the case.

"We are not quite sure how people are going to experience 3D in the home," he said, pointing out that people multitask in their living rooms and these habits would need consideration.