After being exposed as a serial adulterer, Tiger Woods will play in the US Masters with the event set to be recorded in full 3D glory as both a movie and 3D TV broadcast.
During the past week, broadcasters have been shooting 3D footage at the Augusta National Golf Club, however, the tests reveal that golf in 3D is “set to be a fizzer” according to some observers.
In the US, several thousand 3D TVs from Samsung and Panasonic have already been sold, with the host broadcaster set to show the last nine holes in 3D between 4.00pm and 6.00pm.
According to several people who have seen the 3D test, the slowness of golf where the cameraman stays on a subject for a long time is “cause for concern”.
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On the other hand, executives from Comcast, the 3D rights holder for the US Masters, claim that golf is ideal for 3D. “It is a slow sport, one player in action at a time. Cameras need not pan quickly and can be closer than they are in, say, football or baseball. And if arranged intelligently, the cameras at Augusta will not have patrons standing up in front of them,” an executive said.
The best of the Masters 3D demonstration footage included putts moving toward a camera; a chip shot flying out of a bunker, with the individual grains of sand moving into a new dimension in front of the golfer; yellow flags fluttering at the hole in the foreground while water courses through a creek in the background; and the slow panning of the most topographically interesting holes to show the changing elevations.
The closer the cameras get to the action, the better the picture. It may be too much to expect the 3D cameras to get close enough for a driver to look as if it is coming through the screen.
But there were flaws. When the sun glinted off water, the picture blurred. When trees or bushes came into view too quickly, it was visually jarring. When a camera panned the grass too rapidly, the effect was dizzying.
“We’re figuring out what works and what doesn’t,” said Mark Francisco, a Comcast executive who is working on developing events for 3D broadcasts.
“It speaks for itself,” Mark Hess, a senior vice president of Comcast, said at a demonstration of the 3D Augusta footage at the SNY studio in Manhattan. Comcast, a part owner of SNY, is distributing the 3-D feed that Augusta is producing to its customers with 3D sets and 3D-capable computers, and to those at Time Warner, Cox and Cablevision.
A Time Warner spokesman said the company would make the 3D Masters available to its customers as a recorded video-on-demand offering, but was planning a live public viewing, perhaps at a Best Buy, during the first or second round.