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I attended the 3D showing of the BCS Championship (college football) game last Thursday night. I have been a fan of 3D whenever and wherever, but I did not find the experience to be better than home viewing. There were too many gut wrenching moments when everything went double, as if I had seized up cross-eyed. The solution for that was to close one eye until the producers fixed it, which usually took 5-7 seconds. During those times the audience collectively groaned, like as if both teams had fumbled simultaneously.


The camera work overused ground level shots, which increased the 3D impression by showing people at all distances occluding one another, but several times we had to wait for the replay to have the actual football in view and to see if the pass was completed.


Focus seemed to be a problem more often than in most network football broadcasts, which generally have excellent camerawork.


Also, several times the 3D seemed exaggerated. We saw a group milling around and two people seemed to pass through one another. I suspect that the cameras use variable distance between their lenses that is supposed to be adjusted to match their zoom level, but if so they did not seem to adjust themselves automatically well enough.


Viewing the game in 3D felt like work.


I think live sports are not such a great application for 3D after all. There is too much that can go wrong too fast, and no opportunity to fix it in the editing room.
 
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