Turner Sports, which aired its first 3D broadcast with the NASCAR Coke Zero on July 3, is following it up by teaming with The PGA of America to offer 3D coverage of the 92nd PGA Championship on Thursday, Aug. 12 and Friday, Aug. 13, from Whistling Straits golf course in Kohler, Wisc.
The stereoscopic 3D coverage, which will be carried by pay-TV operators Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable and also streamed on PGA.com, will focus on the par-3 12th and 17th holes at Whistling Straits from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ET each day. The 3D coverage will be hosted by Vince Cellini, and 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem will provide commentary and analysis.
While the Coke Zero 400 production used 3D rigs from 3ality Digital, the PGA production will use PACE 3D rigs supported by NEP's new SS32 truck, which handled ESPN's coverage of the MLB Home Run Derby and Fox's coverage of the All-Star Game earlier this month. PACE and NEP also collaborated on ESPN's 3D production of The Masters golf tournament this spring.
Whistling Straits is a links course set alongside Lake Michigan, and the two par-3's were selected for being particularly picturesque, says Tom Sahara, senior director of remote operations and IT for Turner Sports. The PGA production will use four 3D rigs on each hole, with two located near the tee box and two alongside the green. One camera near the tee will be placed behind the golfer to capture the traditional look toward the green, while the other will probably be placed low and to the side, to give the 3D viewer the effect of standing in the gallery.
"The idea here is to really bring across the experience of being there in the gallery and taking in everything around you," says Sahara, who expects that the rolling mounds and pot bunkers typical to a links course like Whistling Straits should really stand out in 3D.
One of the other two cameras will likely be mounted near the back of the green, to give a low shot of balls approaching and landing on the green; that angle was particularly dynamic during The Masters coverage. The other will be mounted on a crane that will allow for lateral movement for the most effective 3D shots once golfers are on the green.
"You actually need to have a little bit of movement so can see how much space there is between things," says Sahara. "You don't get that sense in 2D, but in 3D you can really see that the ball is three feet towards the viewer from the hole, while in 2D it looks like it's two inches away."