I wonder how many times that ^^^ stupid title has been used.
Warning: there is no useful information below, mostly just opinion. Poorly written to boot.
Many people have been asking me lately “how I feel about 3d” video and how it relates to hockey. In cases like this it’s hard to separate my personal “as a content producer” thoughts with a guess on how fans and the general consumer would accept it. To be completely honest, I haven’t been over zealous in my attempts to get out and see it, having only seen some limited applications.
But I’ve had a billion discussions about it. Senior Execs at technology companies and networks, distributors, content producers, and people ‘out of the circle’ aka regular viewers and their thoughts. They all have one thing in common: nobody knows or can agree.
3D has come to hockey. MSG broadcast the Islanders/Rangers game in 3D a few months back. It had the same problems we have when we try to get outside the box with un-traditional camera angles.
The biggest issue for MSG’s production was the vertical posts holding up the plexiglass, which are impossible to avoid. In addition, without cameras inside the rink, every shot will be from behind the glass, which creates some issues when it comes to choosing depth of field.
“We want to put the players we’re shooting on the screen, so anything between the camera and play is coming off the screen,” said Steve Schklair, president of 3ality Digital. “If the player is on the screen, the glass is in your face, so if it’s scratched, you’ve got these scratches flowing in the middle of the audience. We can compensate, but then the players are all deep in space. Creatively, that’s not what you want to do, but technically, sometimes you have to.”
Still, he noted that shooting through the glass was not as big an issue as he had thought — although the posts did pose a problem when cameramen panned across them.
We have the same problem with hand-held cameras. You have limited space to pan the camera before you get one of those ugly posts in the way. And we all know seamless glass sucks for the players, so I’d hate to see that go in more buildings. It’s one of the reasons that we’re looking to cut holes in the dasher boards at CONSOL Energy Center. We want those up-close, unobstructed, emotion-capturing shots of players like you see on NFL Films shows, but how? We’ll see if it works as intended.
Back to 3D. And let’s keep Avatar out of the equation, because it really doesn’t add to the context of 3D in hockey. Or any sport. I read every single article I could find on the MSG 3D telecast, and I never saw the quote from anyone that I was looking for: “I have to watch hockey this way for every game”. Maybe it was just how that game came out — let’s be fair it was the first major broadcast attempt at it. But in my limited experience, I think it’s really cool for about 10 minutes, then I’m ready to get the glasses off.
What’s more – at least at home — what it takes to watch a game in 3D doesn’t exactly jibe with how I prefer to watch a game. My usual setup for watching a game is sitting in front of my 41-inch Wal-Mart HD, laptop on my lap, watching and participating in Twitter, while having the full NHL stat pages up. I have a 4-year old, a 9-month old, and it’s really impossible for me to be sitting there staring at one screen with glasses on and enjoy the game the way I want to enjoy it.
Why do we go watch games with friends? Why do we go to bars to watch? Why was the big screen so damn popular? The community. The interaction. The shared experience. It’s why I’m watching Twitter, FB, chats, etc. I’m consuming every piece of media that I can (most nights) while I’m watching. As cool as 3D can be when implemented correctly, to me it’s just not the next big thing coming to sports. Maybe I’m wrong. But as the whole media world is moving from linear viewing to on-demand, 3D almost feels like a step backwards to me. I want enhancements to the viewing experience, not just a technical change to the experience itself.
Innovation is money. Networks know this. Best Buy knows this. That’s why you have seen and will continue to see the letters 3D spewn about wherever they can fit it in. It’s almost to the frenzy level of ‘e-anything’ back in the day. Big companies might not know where the ship is going, but they’ll be damned if they are going to miss the boat and be left behind.
Now that aside, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I think there’s applications where it works. I’ve seen applications where it works, and yes even in hockey. Over the years we’ve all seen near-misses that have led to some very cool advances. One thing 3D has caused people to people to do is to think outside of the box. You’re seeing the effects of it in the way major nets are starting to do graphics and some other things. It’s not a bad thing. It’s actually kind of exciting.
I’ll do my due diligence on it and continue to talk about it, read about it, and probably even watch it some more. Right now, it has to do more for me than what I’ve seen, because it hasn’t been impressive enough for me to want to change my behavior and habits of how I like to watch sports.
All that aside, I could see myself paying 30 bucks or something and going to watch the Super Bowl or NCAA Final or other big time event at an IMAX theater in 3D. An immersive experience. But not at my house.
And if I’m totally off, I’ll be deleting this post and call anyone a liar that says that they read it.