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The Producer Report: The World Cup

Sony goes 3d for the World Cup

For the first time in the history of the World Cup, FIFA arranged to broadcast the action on the field using next-generation 3d

technology by Sony. Michael Burns reveals the process behind showing 25 of the tournament’s games in stereoscopic 3d


he 2010 FIFA World Cup won’t just be remembered for the action of the pitch, teams losing on penalties and the irritating

buzz of thousands of vuvuzelas – for those fortunate enough to have experienced it, it will also be remembered for being the first football tournament to be televised in 3d. In fact, says FIFA’s director of TV, Niclas Ericson, “It’s the first global sporting event to be broadcast in 3d. We’ve taken the action on the field and the atmosphere in the stadium out to more people in the world than ever before. If you couldn’t get a match ticket, watching it in 3d is the very next best thing.” Ericson adds that there have been many

suggestions in the past that the 2010 tournament should be broadcast in 3d, “But it was not until Sony came to us with a viable project that we thought, ‘Ok, let’s do it.’” 3d filming is taking place at five out of the 10

FIFA World Cup stadiums: Soccer City and Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. At the time of writing, 25 matches are being filmed and broadcast in 3d, including a

30 theproducer Summer 2010

carefully chosen selection of those games expected to attract most public attention. These include the opening game at Soccer City (South Africa versus Mexico) and the final game of the World Cup, also in Johannesburg. “The 3d feed from these 25 matches will be

made available for broadcast on 3d channels, which can be enjoyed by consumers on their 3d- compatible TV sets in the comfort of their home, almost as if they were in the football stadium themselves,” explains Ericson. “We wanted to have a good spread of match days covered. We also wanted to make sure the key matches were in this production schedule.” Partners for the 3d live TV broadcasts are ESPN in the US, Japan’s Sky PerfecTV, SBS in South Korea and Sogecable in Spain.

PARADIGM SHIFT David Bush, director of marketing for Sony Professional, calls 3d the “next paradigm shift in viewing”. He says: “Live sports production offers unique challenges. Over the last three years Sony has been trialling 3d live production technology at

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