FSU Uses Stereoscopic 3D Video for Football

By Andrew Lippe
3D video technology has become a reality on college campuses. In fact, last season,
invited high school seniors to don a pair of 3D glasses and watch FSU football highlights in 3D in the newly designed theater in its athletic center. Florida State University Seminole Productions produced stereoscopic 3D using a dual-projector system and a 3D process developed by 3dh Communications. This season, the school will continue to create 3D highlights for recruits and will also provide the technology to coaches, with practices taped in 3D for the first time.
“We are trying to figure out what the best angles are and what works best in 3D for that kind of application,” says director of Seminole Productions Mark Rodin. “We are probably the only college in the country doing 3D video.”
FSU creates stereoscopic 3D video using low-end cameras — in this case, Canon XL H1 HD cameras in a setup costing about $25,000. The cameras can also be used to produce 2D game footage.
The screen in the theatre was actually painted on the wall by a company called Goo Systems, using Screen Goo Ultra Silver 3D coating. The football projection room has stadium seating for roughly 200.
Entertainment has embraced stereoscopic 3D but uses a more expensive process. RealD Cinema produced movies like
Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert and
U2 3D, using a single projector to create the 3D experience.
“The 3D process we are moving to is not as expensive as you think,” says Rodin. “You can get as expensive as you want, but we are using off-the-shelf projectors. When you see the actual equipment, you are going, wow, you can do 3D with that equipment! It looks amazing.”
3dh VP of research and development Brian Lanehart says that creating 3D involves managing 1,000 different little details, including choosing the right lenses and determining the lighting and camera positions. 3dh has worked with colleges to create graphics for educational use, but this is its first foray into 3D video.
“We were working with
to put the tools into a real sports broadcaster’s hands so we could see what tools we needed to build,” says Lanehart, adding, “Mark was very easy to teach and was open and willing to let go of 2D.”
A possible issue for sports’ use of 3D video is that coaches want to see footage on the fly, and that is not currently possible in 3D. FSU must first edit 3D footage in Final Cut Pro. Rodin notes that football head coach Bobby Bowden has seen the 3D video and “thinks it is great. He says that is a lot different than when he was a kid.”
3D is not only being learned by coaches but will soon be implemented in student classrooms on campus. Says Rodin, “Eventually, I plan to teach a class in stereoscopic 3D technology to our students.”

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