CBS Sports To Rely on PACE ShadowD 3D Rig for US Open

A new camera system from PACE that mounts a 3D camera rig on top of a 2D camera and can be operated by only one cameraperson will play an important role in this weekend’s historic 3D coverage of the US Open. CBS Sports — in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), DirecTV, and Panasonic — will have three of the camera systems at the core of its 3D productions, which begin at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday.

3D-production company PACE is on hand and will be working alongside CBS Sports staffers in NEP SuperShooter 9 and the PACE 3D truck.

Ken Aagaard, EVP of engineering, operations, and production for CBS Sports, says Arthur Ashe Stadium provides an optimal environment for a top-notch 3D experience.

“We have an opportunity here to cover a smaller area [than at some previous events], and what makes 3D effective are low camera positions, where you don’t need to cut as much,” he explains. “The tougher part is finding a place for camera positions.”

The best camera positions for tennis coverage, at low midcourt and two spots next to the court opposite the umpire chair, simply don’t have room for the additional cameras and operators that have been required for 3D productions. ShadowD solves that problem.

“There is a housing around the 2D camera, and then the 3D cameras are mounted on top of that housing,” says Aagaard. “Whenever the operator operates the 2D camera, the 3D cameras automatically go to the proper position.”

Along with the ShadowD rigs, 3D cameras will be located at the slash position, in the corner of the court, and in the camera dugout opposite the camera in the corner.

“They will offer beautiful 3D views of tennis,” says Aagaard.

A Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D camcorder will also be used to get shots of crowds in the concourse as well as talking-head shots. That camera was successfully deployed during MLB All-Star Game weekend by Fox Sports and ESPN.

DirecTV SVP Stephen Roberts notes that the Panasonic camcorder embodies the kind of technical advances that are revolutionizing the 3D-production process. “We are using those cameras on a week-by-week basis, and, until it was introduced, there was not an affordable choice to create and produce content at a great price and quality.”

Roberts says the coverage will be viewable by all DirecTV subscribers who have a 3DTV set, regardless of which manufacturer made the set. Adding the US Open to the DirecTV lineup this weekend and then next weekend for coverage of the men’s semifinal and women’s and men’s finals, he points out, continues DirecTV’s commitment to innovation at the event.

“In 2006, we launched interactive applications with live stats,” he says. “We are proud to be partners with Panasonic, the US Open, and CBS Sports, and to bring this unbelievable video experience to subscribers is an honor.”

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