Panasonic, Bexel Build 3D Relationship

Panasonic, CBS Sports, the USTA, and Bexel came together in the media center at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday to celebrate the US Open in 3D and also to lay out new initiatives that will continue to make it easier for professionals and consumers to embrace 3D.

Gordon Smith, USTA executive director/COO, says the 3D efforts this weekend are the latest example of ways the US Open has advanced the state not only of tennis but of technology as well.

“We were the first to have equal prize money for both men and women, and it wasn’t only five years ago but in 1973,” he points out. “And we were the first to have instant replay, in 2006. The 3D broadcasts show we continue to lead in technical innovation as we look for new ways to engage fans in dynamic ways.”

Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, CTO of Panasonic North America, says that Panasonic’s sponsorship of the 3D broadcasts, available on DirecTV, will bring the fans closer than ever to the sport. “Sports are about grit, determination, and ultimately about lifting the human spirit. With 3D, that emotion can be transported to the home better than ever.”

Helping transport those emotions more cost-effectively will be products like the AG-3DA1 professional 3D camcorder, which is priced about $20,000 and began shipping last week. And Panasonic and Bexel also announced that Bexel will outfit six 3D rigs, four from 3ality Digital and two from Parallax, with Panasonic cameras.

“Bexel also has a 53-ft. mobile trailer available for 3D productions,” says John Baisley, president of Media and Production Services for Panasonic Solutions Co. “And with a Bexel flypack, 3D can be shot on location.”

He adds that the AG-HMX100 mixer, the first live switcher for 3D event production, is also available for multiple-camera productions.

Shiro Kitajima, president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co., adds that rigs like the ones offered by Bexel will play a key role in the development of 3D. But other options — such as the AG-3DA1, which records 3D to SD memory cards and is extremely portable — will play an important role as well. And the HDC-SDT75, a 3D consumer camcorder priced at $1,399, will also help introduce consumers to 3D.

An introduction to 3D, however, is only the first step in convincing consumers that the 3D experience is rock solid. The amount of content being produced in 3D must be quickly expanded.

To help ensure that such expansion occurs with minimal industry confusion, Panasonic also announced plans to open a 3D Innovations Center this fall. “The mission will be pursue best practices and create a forum for ongoing communication in all industries [related to 3D],” says Kitajima.

Panasonic will also partner with Createasphere to produce a series of 3D-production workshops across the country.

The deals with Bexel, Createasphere, and others point to Panasonic’s belief that education will play a major part in making 3D become a true force in the industry.

“By supporting training,” says Baisley, “we are creating a new wave [of opportunity] that is focused on transforming business practices and reducing cost while improving workflows and business outcomes.”

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