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Has 3D TV died, or did it ever really get to live?

We had the opportunity to upgrade our AVID edit suites a couple of years back to be able to facilitate 3D post production. However, we decided not to do that but instead wait and see what the demand for 3DTV was going to be. There was a lot of talk of it being the next big technological change to the industry akin to going digital, but we wanted to see if this was the next big thing or just a ‘flash in the pan’!

Dealing with large corporate clients we know how complex their delivery requirements can be and infact some are still struggling with HD let alone 3DTV and others still need assistance in negotiating the intricacies of their own intranets or the world wide web. So as we had anticipated, there was no demand from our clients for 3D, then, or ever – so far.

The broadcasters, however, have played with it for years. I remember over 20 years ago being shown 3D TV by a Korean company, the BBC and BSKYB have also been developing it, along with the other big players. They’ve done some nice pieces now as well, such as the Attenbourgh wildlife programmes and a few sports events like Wimbledon and of course the 2012 Olympics in London.

Some of the time it worked well, the opening ceremony for the Olympics in 3D was certainly very interesting. We had several people round to watch it; we all sat there with our 3D glasses on, and it certainly made for a different experience – but it also did cut down on the personal interactions within the room. Watching the Wimbledon tennis was a real turn off in 3D, you just couldn’t see the game properly, as the cameras were placed low down at one end of the court which meant that it was difficult to see what was happening at the other end. But then that’s the way the 3D cameras work, they have to have that extreme perspective to give that dimensional experience. They also need to be static as the cameras are still quite cumbersome and indeed rapid camera movement can make the viewer nauseous similar to suffering from motion sickness.

With only 1.5M viewers in the UK capable of watching 3D the average viewing figures is short of 100,000 and with such a poor interest in the technology the BBC have now decided to drop any further development of 3DTV leaving BSKYB to go it alone.

We felt 3D was more of a cinema experience and not likely to be popular on TV, or indeed for corporate video purposes. Even in the cinema it’s now interesting to note that many people are choosing to go for the 2D versions of films in preference to 3D – they just don’t feel the extra dimension is worth the extra money, or they don’t like the slightly odd sensation that 3D can sometimes give. A good film doesn’t necessarily need lots of camera trickery and high technology; if the story and images are good they work in 2D fine.

That’s even more true in the corporate video market. We’ve never been asked for 3D, yet. People have expressed technical interest, but when it comes to making a promotional or engagement video programme, our clients are far more concerned about getting a message out that is memorable using a delivery method that can get to as many people as possible with as little hassle as possible – 3D just doesn’t fit the bill for them.

So it was interesting to see this article in Digital Trends recently – seems our gut feelings were right, but have a look for yourself and see what you think:





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