“The X Games were a milestone in demonstrating that 3D innovation can also directly augment 2D production.” – Vince Pace, Co-Chairman & CEO, CPG
“The key to MaxRemote™ is you can place the camera anywhere and never have to physically visit during the production.” – Patrick Campbell, Chief Technology Officer, CPG
CAMERON | PACE Group debuted new 5D technology at the 2013 Winter X Games that made an irreversible dent in the barriers that have traditionally limited 3D growth. In the spirit of the Games, well known for their tradition of breaking records and defying limits, CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) rolled out new technology that effectively integrates 2D and 3D content production using cost-competitive, scalable methods to improve image quality and overall viewer experience. Specifically, this technology addresses the broadcast industry’s central challenge – to produce multi-format live footage without multiplying production costs. “Our engineering efforts always focus on ways to enable broadcasters to do more with less,” says Vince Pace , CPG’s Co-Chairman and CEO. “The X Games were a milestone in demonstrating that 3D innovation can also directly augment 2D production.”
The debut of CPG’s new broadcast solutions built on the company’s 2012 leadership in producing the technology and methodologies necessary to make integrated 2D and 3D (known as 5D) productions attractive and scalable options for mainstream broadcasts. To accomplish this, CPG developed products that embed 3D functionality into existing 2D production models without sacrificing flexibility or mobility. “Our goal at CPG,” says Pace, “is to enable broadcasters to generate top quality footage under any circumstances, adapting to any approach they select. For this year’s X Games, we were able to do just that.”
To service the X Games, CPG deployed two Shadow mobile units, each equipped with newly engineered MaxRemote™ automated camera rigs. MaxRemote™ technology is at the core of CPG’s new suite of production tools and puts total control of all camera rigs in the hands of the mobile unit production team. This technology also facilitates critical functions including matching back focus and vertical lens tracking, features that are being looked at for use in standard 2D production. MaxRemote™ reduces the amount of personnel needed to staff cameras in the field and facilitates centralized command of 3D image acquisition and quality control. This technology was critical for coverage of the X Games, a complex live production with camera placements in hard-to-access locations. “The key to MaxRemote™ is you can place the camera anywhere and never have to physically visit during the production,” says Patrick Campbell , CPG’s Chief Technology Officer. “At the X Games, the cameras were essentially only visited when they were bagged for the night and unbagged in the morning.”
CPG’s groundbreaking MaxRemote™ technology complemented its three additional innovations in 3D image capture and playback. One of these innovations, CPG’s Dual Convergence Controller system, facilitated more precise alignment of camera rigs, an essential capability for optimizing 3D images, while halving dependency on gear. CPG also upgraded its handheld rigs to newer, more compact and lightweight beam splitter models which use larger imagers than previous designs to provide higher quality 3D images and lens performance.
Lastly, CPG debuted a custom-built, 3D high-speed camera integrated with its latest slow motion replay technology. This system captured shots at 420 fps and produced such high quality replay footage that the X Games judges used it for scoring purposes. “Thursday was its first day in live production — recording and playing back — and it was great,” says Robert “Bruno” Brunelle, engineer-in-charge for CPG’s Shadow mobile units. “The setup was easy to use; it’s more reliable, it’s robust.” Adds Pace: “By integrating CPG solutions directly to the manufacturers’ camera sensors, the resulting 3D images seem technologically impossible. Every frame is captured in perfect time sync, resulting in an expression of athleticism that has never before been witnessed in such clarity.”
The reaction by viewers to the quality of the X Games’ 3D footage was universally enthusiastic. Audience comments on micro-blogging sites like Twitter described their viewer experiences as “awesome”, “unreal”, “trippy”, “dope”, and “mind-blowing”. One individual, Scott Simmons (@editblog), tweeted “Winter X-Games on ESPN3D [is the o]nly way to watch! No ticker tape crawls, super cool shots. 3D at home better than 3D in theaters.” Another viewer, Michael Obermeier (@ObieTrice16), tweeted, “X Games in 3D! The ultimate experience!”
An Epic Day for 3D Broadcast
In addition to the athletic records broken at the X Games, Saturday, January 26 marked an historic day for 3D television, as well. Saturday featured ten hours of live 3D broadcasts in a single day, all of which were serviced by CPG. In one day, CPG provided a crew and 30 3D rigs to cover six hours of live X Games events and nine additional rigs and crew to cover four hours of College Gameday live basketball. For a full list of CPG-serviced broadcasts on Saturday, January 26, 2013, see below.
10AM – 11AM College Gameday (from Raleigh, N.C.)
11AM – 12PM College Gameday (from Raleigh, N.C.)
2PM – 4PM Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final
4PM – 6PM Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final & Snowmobile Speed & Style Final
7PM – 9PM College Basketball – North Carolina at NC State
9PM – 11PM Ski Big Air Final & Women’s Snowboard SuperPipe Final