CBS Sports has followed through on previous suggestions that tennis
would be a 3D-friendly sport, securing a sponsorship deal with Panasonic to produce
stereoscopic 3D coverage of the U.S. Open championship to be held Aug. 30-Sept.
12 in Flushing, N.Y. CBS' 3D coverage will be broadcast on
DirecTV's "n3D" channel, which is sponsored by Panasonic, and
there are ongoing discussions about distribution via other pay-TV outlets.
According to CBS Sports executive VP of operations and engineering Ken
Aagaard, the network plans to produce the middle weekend-Saturday, Sept.
4 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6---and the final weekend---Saturday, Sept.
11 and Sunday, Sept. 12-in 3D. The coverage will focus on Center Court at the
Tennis Center, and will use PACE 3D camera rigs
supported by an NEP 3D production truck.
CBS plans to use six or seven cameras to produce the 3D coverage, with
the primary camera position utilizing a new combination 2D/3D rig that PACE CEO
Vince Pace created with lens manufacturer Fujinon. The new "Shadow
D" rig places a conventional 2D camera and a 3D camera rig in one system
and links them together, with one on top of the other. It allows a single
camera operator to control both cameras---the 3D camera follows the moves of
the 2D camera. The system is designed to allow 3D productions to utilize
existing 2D camera positions while cutting down on the extra manpower required
"The camera positions are very difficult, and obviously you want
to be able to shoot it low [for 3D]," says Aagaard. "But I think
we've got some good positions."