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April 9, 2010

FIFA unveils 3D plans for World Cup

by Rapid TV News

Website: Rapid TV News

FIFA joined forces in London April 8 with Sony to disclose their plans for the upcoming World Cup, including 3D coverage of the event.

FIFA has selected 25 games to be given the exclusive 3D treatment, including games in five centres (Jo-burg’s Soccer City and Ellis Park, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elisabeth).

The first game will be the June 11 opener between South Africa and Mexico.

The final in Johannesburg on July 11 will wrap the coverage.

The 25 games will be handled by two purpose-built fully self-contained 3D outside broadcast trucks.

Niclas Ericson, FIFA’s director of TV, explained that the England vs USA game on June 12 would NOT be covered in 3D as it was not in one of the 5 key venues.

Host Broadcast Services (HBS), has contracted with Telegenic of the UK and France’s AMP to provide the dedicated 3D trucks.

The Telegenic vehicle has already been working for BSkyB on its 3D coverage of premiership games.

The two trucks will be flown to South Africa on June 1 aboard giant Russian Antonov aircraft.

One truck will be based in Johannesburg covering both the city’s stadiums.

The other will shuttle between Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban.

Each game will be covered by seven dedicated stereoscopic cameras (Sony’s HDC-1500 units) in dedicated positions that are generally different to the up to 40 positions being used for HDTV coverage.

Three of the 3D positions are positioned in the stands, but not as high as they would normally be for HD coverage, while the four remaining positions will be near the touch-line at ground level.

Peter Angel, head of production & programming at HBS, admits that the 3D project has all its eggs in the two OB trucks and in the event of a technical problem they’d have to switch to HD coverage.

“But in three World Cup tournaments we have only ever had one technical problem that caused any sort of glitch and we’re hopeful that this year’s games will go just as smoothly.”

Sony’s partnership has been crucial to the 3D project.

In return there will be 3D promotional coverage (but not of the actual games) at Sony Centres and retailers around the world.

Additionally, there will be live cinema exhibition of the games (handled by Swiss-based Aruna Media), and when it is all over Sony will release FIFA’s official 3D Blu-ray special movie of the contest.

TV viewers will be able to see the coverage on ESPN in the USA, Sogecable in Spain and SBS in Korea.

FIFA said they were hopeful that they’d also sign “other broadcasters” around the world to show the 3D images, including one channel in Japan.

But with Europe’s public broadcasters holding tightly onto the exclusive transmission rights there would be very few opportunities to see 3D games other than on some European cinema screens “and at a few public locations” although neither Sony nor FIFA gave any clues as to where these might be.

Sony’s Bravia 3D sets would be released ahead of June competition.

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