3D TV and More at the 2010 NAB Show

With 3D technology dominating the conversation in both the consumer electronics industry as well as the electronic integration industry, it only makes sense that this year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show would be dominated by talk of 3D technology as well. Held last week in Las Vegas, NAB Show is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of professionals from across the broadcasting industry, including television and motion picture industries. Whereas other trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show focused on 3D technology in the home, the 2010 NAB Show focused primarily on acquiring and distributing 3D content for broadcasters, which up until this point largely remained a glaring question mark. And just how there are competing and differing technologies for showing 3D content at home, the broadcasting industry has yet to decide on a single technology for shooting movies and TV shows in 3D.The first technology uses a device known as a beam-splitter, which is essentially an angled two-way mirror allowing one camera to shoot images through the mirror, and another camera mounted on top to shoot images that are reflected off the mirror. This setup, shown here with two Red One cameras, is typically used for filming motion pictures in 3D, such as the mega-hit Avatar.The second option is to mount two cameras side-by-side, which is typically used when shooting live programming like sports events in 3D. This image was taken during ESPN’s first-ever test 3D broadcast of the USC vs. Ohio State college football game last fall. While it works well for live 3D events, a special technician known as a stereographer looks ahead a few shots to ensure that the two cameras do not lose convergence—essentially going crosseyed—due to the distance between the two lenses. These cameras also present logistical challenges for broadcasters and venues, as they cannot be placed in the typical stadium camera locations.Just introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and put on public display for the first time at the 2010 NAB Show is Panasonic’s new AVC-ULTRA3D camcorder, which features new split lens technology. This eliminates the need for two complete cameras to be placed side by side in a special rig and enables handheld shooting, making it more cost effective for broadcasters and filmmakers to produce 3D content.

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