Industry exploring 3D game shows

'Wheel of Fortune' could be one of the first available

A 3D version of "Wheel of Fortune" could be coming to television as game shows become the next form of entertainment to explore the technology.

A 3D clip of "Wheel" was screened Friday morning at an open house for Sony's new 3D Technology Center on the Sony Pictures lot, The venue is designed to spearhead 3D research and development as well as production training.

Harry Friedman, executive producer of "Wheel" and "Jeopardy!," introduced the clip.

"One of the biggest challenges is keeping a game show fresh -- by changing the show without changing the game," he said. "We do that with enhanced production value, such as set design. We typically do dimensionalized sets, which are made for 3D."

A timetable for a 3D version of "Wheel" is not in place.

The industry has been looking to increase the available content for 3D in the home in addition to growing the slate of 3D movies. The Consumer Electronics Assn. predicts that 4.3 million 3D TVs will be sold this year, and 25% of all sets sold will be 3D-ready by 2013.

Game shows could be among the first programming to get the 3D treatment. Movies, of course, led the way, with sports on the move with upcoming events including stereoscopic production of this summer's soccer World Cup. A test of 3D golf recently was performed in Hawaii at the Sony Open.

Growth in the 3D market has underscored the still-limited production experience and know-how in the professional community, which prompted the launch of Sony's 3D center.

"We are concerned that as the industry moves toward 3D, people will just put two cameras together," Sony Pictures Technologies CEO Chris Cookson said. "Bad 3D experiences will sour audiences on the premise. We'd like to elevate the overall production knowledge."

On hand at the event was International Cinematographers Guild president Steven Poster, who confirmed that the ICG would work with the center to offer training for its membership. "This is a real boon for the industry," he said. "We have not been able to implement training because of a lack of facilities."

Training will be offered in directing, cinematography, video game development and live-events production. The first sessions are slated to begin next month.