First 3-D TV Truck Hits Streets

In a sign of the growing interest in 3-D television
production, NEP Broadcasting and PACE
Productions have launched a truck that is solely dedicated to producing live 3-D
television events.

The new truck, which the companies have dubbed the
Supershooter 3-D (SS 3-D), was used for ESPN's 3-D production of the Sept. 12 OhioState-USC college-football game from Columbus,

While the companies have not announced any other upcoming
productions, NEP is talking to a number of
networks and companies about possible 3-D shoots, said Joseph Signorino, senior
project engineer and mobile unit manager for NEP
Broadcasting, a major provider of broadcasting services.

"There are some sports and entertainment and concert
productions that are being discussed now, some of which are coming up fairly
soon," said Signorino, who has overseen the SS 3-D effort. "Obviously, Fox and
Turner have done events, so 3-D isn't new. But the ESPN
Ohio State
game sort of kicked things off and demonstrated that everything works well.

"Now that there is a dedicated facility for doing this, I
think we'll see a more interest," Signorino said.

PACE has developed a wide array of technologies for 3-D production.
It is very active in 3-D theatrical films and in the past has been involved in
the production of several 3-D sporting events.

In 2007, PACE launched a 3-D mobile unit. That unit isn't
suited to live television broadcasts, though, and previous 3-D production had
required companies to modify existing HD capable trucks for stereoscopic

Top executives at PACE and NEP
had been discussing the idea of putting together a 3-D truck for television for
some time but the first big push came in late May, when ESPN approached them
with a plan to produce the last two games of the NBA Finals in 3-D, Signorino

While those productions were scrapped because of the tight
deadline, NEP and PACE continued to work on
the rig.

"PACE had been involved in 3-D for some time, and had the
technology but they wanted someone like NEP
who had the ability to bring in the clients and develop something that would
work up to the clients expectations," Signorino said. "It was a natural
partnership with them being the best in their end of the business and NEP
being the best in ours."

Final work on Supershooter 3-D accelerated in August when
ESPN decided to produce Ohio State-USC in
both HD and 3-D.

Although they had nearly a month to finish the project, the two
companies faced a number of challenges in putting together the unit.

"It was a major effort getting all the science experiments
to come together at the end," Signorino noted. "But from a technical,
production standpoint, the actual show was nearly flawless."

The only glitch -- a momentary problem with the 3-D yellow first-down
marker graphic -- was quickly corrected, he added. "Everyone was very happy
with the end result."

The backbone of the truck is the PACE FUSION 3-D system.
It features a stereoscopic rig containing two Sony HDC-1500 cameras
and a number of systems that control the cameras so they remain in synch.

The truck itself "is laid out similarly to a standard mobile
unit, with a full audio room that is set up to produce surround sound,"
Signorino explained.

The SS 3-D truck includes a 3-D production-viewing
area, a convergence station and 3-D capable tape, video and engineering rooms.
It is wired for eight 3-D cameras, ten tape machines, with an SSL Aysis Air
Plus! Digital Audio console, two 6-channel EVS XT-2 servers, a Sony MVS-8000 switcher,
and NVision digital audio and video routers.