World Cup to include 2D-3D conversions

19 May 2010

The production of select World Cup matches in stereo 3D will include camera angles converted from 2D HD into 3D, writes Adrian Pennington. The vast majority of coverage will be captured in native 3D, but certain shots may be up-converted in order to deliver the best possible presentation of the action.

World Cup host broadcaster HBS is looking to convert occasional 2D shots from the armory of its 32 2D HD camera positions to augment the eight angles it is deploying per match in stereo 3D.

“Inevitably in this development phase of 3D there will be a need to include some 2D,” said Peter Angell, HBS Director of Production & Programming and FIFA special 3D project leader. “The technical challenge is finding the right way to do that. For example, if there’s a particular incident (such as the Zinedine Zidane head-butt in the 2006 World Cup Final) which has only been captured on a 2D camera, or a 2D camera has the best angle, then editorially that shot is critical to the story and we would be penalising the viewer if that weren’t included.”

Angell notes that some European broadcasters have cut 2D coverage into 3D OBs “which works for a short duration where the value of the shot itself is high enough.

“We have to be judicious about it,” he insisted. “The goal is to tell the story as well as possible but that doesn’t mean littering the coverage with 2D shots. Ideally we need a means of cross-conversion that retains enough of the 3D image so that it makes sense in the story we tell.”

HBS is yet to determine exactly how the 2D-3D conversion will happen, with a number of potential technology solutions still under investigation, including using the video effects function of the Sony vision mixer to create a ‘pseudo-3D’ image from 2D camera.