World premiere at the New Year’s ski-jumping tournament in Garmisch-Partenkirchen: First live production of ski-jumping in S3D
This year’s Four Hills ski-jumping tournament in Garmisch-Partenkirchen provided the backdrop for the first ever 3D live broadcast of ski-jump images, produced by Bayerischer Rundfunk and Sony Professional in collaboration with TopVision. Experienced stereographers used flexible hardware solutions such as Sony’s HDFA-200 and the MPE-200 processor box to produce stunning quality images – despite adverse weather and lighting conditions.
The idea of broadcasting a ski-jumping event in 3D was the brainchild of Herbert Tillmann, Director for Production and Technology at Bayerischer Rundfunk: “When I saw the first 3D shots of the Olympic ski jump, I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the images. Sony has worked together with TopVision and has done an outstanding job – the end result fulfilled our expectations exactly. Even during the preparation phase it was clear to us that 3D can only move forward if there is close collaboration between manufacturers and users – so in that respect we had the perfect partners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”
Two Sony HDC-1500Rs were mounted on an Element Technica Quasar side-by-side rig and positioned in a fixed camera position on top of the judge’s tower near to the main camera. Visitors to the press centre and the VIP tent were able to watch the live 3D images directly.
The new Sony HDFA-200 box came into its own with the broadcasting of the images. It enables users to transmit both HD signals from the cameras, including return, command and metadata for the rig control, to a Sony MPE-200 processor box via a single fibre-optic link. This means that users can control the two cameras like a single camera, which simplifies the 3D production significantly.
In the control room, the 3D team could access the HD signals from 16 cameras and then convert the signals to 3D via a second MPE-200 box. The combination of live 3D images and converted 2D signals worked without a hitch. Both the spectators and the teams responsible were visibly impressed by the result.
The team also took advantage of the wintry weather conditions in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to test the robustness of Sony’s new high-resolution 7.4-inch HDVF-EL75 OLED viewfinder and PVM-740 OLED monitor. In spite of the bitter cold and the extreme lighting conditions, the viewfinder and the monitor delivered sharp, high-contrast images. The camera crews on site were unanimous in their praise of the HDVF-EL75. With its high resolution (960 x 540 RGB pixels), wide colour range and good light-emitting ability, it is clear proof that a colour viewfinder based on OLED technology is by no means inferior to a black and white viewfinder.
Georg Beyer, Key Account Manager at Sony Professional, added: “This is exactly how I imagine a successful trial to run. We had a comparatively modest set of resources available and, in parts, difficult weather conditions to contend with on site. Nevertheless, we achieved our goal of broadcasting top-quality 3D images of the jump. Today, we showed that ski-jumping is at its best in 3D.” His colleague, Andreas Berghaus, Product Manager Live Production at Sony Professional, simply added: “It was just brilliant to see how all the individual cogs meshed together. The team did a fantastic job and the technology co-operated perfectly. The New Year’s ski-jumping tournament has shown us once again that a live production of this kind can only ever be successful if the equipment used is sufficiently flexible.”