AP file photo
As we pretty much inferred — and you were left to imply — we bailed out on attending the 3D screening at USC’s Galen Center of the Trojans’ game Saturday afternoon and early evening against Ohio State.
We sampled a few high placed industry people — anonymous, to protect their interests, but trust me, they’re people whose opinions matter — to get their take on this ESPN experiment, trying to get them to separate the quality of the game from the quality of the presentation, and, if they choose, rate it on a scale of 1 (being worst) to 10 (as it should be implimented now):
Person A: “I’d give it an 8. Here’s why:
1) Great game. If it were a dog and thr crowd didn’t care it wouldn’t have been as cool.
2) The novelty. It felt like you were doing something cool first. Like being the first one with a new iphone or some other gadget.
3) Great pictures. When the right camera was on live, like behind a kick returner as the coverage was approaching, it was unlike anything you’ve seen.
4) The bad. We missed some plays that happened on the far side of the field and the director sometimes stayed on a tight crowd shot to show dimension and would miss the beginning of a play. That will obviously change but we saw the same people in their crowd shots 50 times! The camera positions were obviously not too mobile. We didn’t get to listen to Musburger and Herbstreit (we got Mark Jones and Bob Davies) so it wasn’t as good an announce crew. And we never really saw a replay of the potential USC TD that was called incomplete and wasn’t reviewed .
Overall, a fun day with a great game.
I only saw highlights of the Raiders-Chargers game (on 3D last year) so I really can’t compare. I did see the NBA All-Star Saturday 3D show at Mann’s Chinese. That was cool but this was a lot better. More produced, real graphics, the feel of a ‘real’ show as opposed to a skeleton production. This one had the feel of an evolved experience that was much better than the NBA’s first go at it.
It was absolutely the next best thing to being at a game. When the play occurred near the camera, it was fantastic but when a play happened on the other side of the field, (the 3D cams are much lower than traditional game cameras so that you can see the depth), oftentimes you couldn’t see the play. Very frustrating. The graphics look cool but sometimes it’s tough to focus on the play and on the yellow first down line. It looks blurry a little bit.
The 3D glasses aren’t annoying either. We also got very few commercials and they were for 3D movies like Alice in Wonderland, and Toy Story 3. Overall, very cool. Very impressed with ESPN to make the investment.”
Person B from his iPhone: “It was a very interesting and very cool look at the game. Because of fewer cameras and different camera angles than we are accustomed to, it made following the game (and sometimes the ball) more difficult and tho it seems counterintuitve the depth perception sometimes was more difficult. I watched the game again on regular HDTV when I got home and replays and camera angles wer better, but mainly due to more cameras. The 3D definitely gave you times when you felt you were standing right on the field or sideline. I think we will see more in the future.”
Person C: “Concept was good…but I tended to lose the ball up in the air…cameras are down low and I don’t think it gets balls that are thrown high down field…I tended to lose the ball…announcers were not good…would have rather had the game announcers that were on TV…they went to an interview with Santonio Holmes and there was action on the field…bad camera work…seems like when they went to interviews down on the field, they couldn’t show the action and do their interview at the same time…it was the first step and it can grow from here…probably at a 5 taking into account everything.”
Person D: “Overall it was a good experience; the action coming at you is the best shot. But I would not go out of my way to watch it again. There were plenty of cameras and the coverage was good, the environment helped tremendously.
The Pros: Good camera angles with 8 cameras, the presentation of commercials (movie trailers) and the atmosphere.
The Cons: Too many gimmicks to showcase 3D with sideline reporter and guests (reaching out to the camera lens); missed a few key replays (I don’t know if they were not ready for them or if they did not have good replay views), glasses need to be improved on (too distracting with light coming in through sides), the better view is right in front of screen; off to either side you lose perspective.
I don’t see it working on home televisions as well.”