James Cameron's Shrinking 3D Camera

After reaching the ocean's depths, the system got another workout at L.A.'s X Games

James Cameron likes to take things to extremes, and the latest ultra-mini 3D camera being tested by Cameron Pace Group is no exception.

In March, Cameron brought the camera when he made his historic dive into the Mariana Trench's Challenger Deep, about seven miles beneath the surface of the Western Pacific Ocean. And from June 28 to July 1, the system got another test run at ESPN's X Games Los Angeles.

The camera system includes two HD cameras with lenses (one to capture the right-eye image and one for the left) on a CPG 3D rig. "Size was critical. I think it is 9 ounces for the full 3D rig," says Vince Pace, who co-founded CPG with Cameron. "Jim worked with the developer of the camera, and [CPG] integrated it for Jim's use."

At the X Games, the system was tested on rally cars for point-of-view shots. "The key for us is to continue to move toward small broadcast cameras, and this is a broadcast[-quality] camera," says Pace. The camera test was part of ESPN's coverage of the extreme-sports competition -- it was the most sophisticated use to date of CPG's "5D" strategy of capturing images for 2D and 3D broadcasts simultaneously on a single 3D rig. CPG shot 16 events totaling about 23 hours of live coverage used by ESPN for its 2D channel, 3D channel, online and international sites.

"We look at all of this technology as cross-platform," says Pace. "With the wave of digital, that line between what is scientific and what is broadcast and what is digital cinema has gotten blurred."