In 2011 the production of Wimbledon in 3D won awards and much critical acclaim meaning that in 2012 it was going to be a hard act to improve on what was a very successful production. The march of Andy Murray to the Finals also meant that this year there would be the pressure of an even bigger audience for the 2012 3D broadcasts.
The reunited team behind 2011’s 3D production of Sony, CAN and NEP Visions were more than up to the challenge however. The proven partnership and learnings from 2011 allowed the team to focus on ensuring that this year’s audience enjoyed the 3D experience even more.
This year’s expanded production (from three days to five) was able to take advantage of two new welcome innovations from Sony. The first was an entirely tapeless operation based on Sony’s HDCAM SR Master technology which ensured content was captured at the highest quality and speed. This not only improved the production workflow but saved precious space in the OB truck. All footage was saved to SR memory cards at a rate of 220Mbps and over 30TB of data was captured across the entire tournament.
Also enhancing the broadcasts was the addition of the Sony TD300 camcorder. It’s compact size and portability proved invaluable and allowed it to be used in the commentators box for match coverage and to record interviews and onsite content beyond Centre Court.
As in 2011, the camera operators monitored the matches in 2D mode and convergence was adjusted manually in the OB truck with assistance from Sony MPE 200’s that provided on-screen warnings and convergence indications. Operators optimised the depth for a 40” TV screen until Sunday when the depth budget was reduced for worldwide cinema audiences for whom a 3D TV depth budget on a large cinema screen would cause eye strain.
The team of 40 production crew supplied the raw 3D feed to 14 different broadcasters including ESPN 3D, Canal+ (Spain), Sky Italia and Nova (Greece). The Men's Final was also fed to worldwide cinemas by Supervision.
Kim Shillinglaw, Head of 3D for the BBC, told 3D Focus, “The BBC’s 3D coverage of the historic Wimbledon Finals last weekend provided a fantastic opportunity to continue the BBC’s two year trial experimenting with 3D production and distribution. This has ensured this momentous piece of British sporting history has been captured in 3D for potential use in years to come.”
Cineworld enjoyed a surge in bookings thanks Any Murray reaching the final. John Travers, Cineworld Alternative Content Manager, said “We were delighted to be able to show the Wimbledon final in 3D at 13 of our sites across the UK. The reception from customers was amazing; ticket sales tripled as soon as Andy got to the final and we actually sold out all of our Scottish screenings.”
Sony’s Mark Grinyer said “The success of our 3D coverage Wimbledon can only be judged on the reaction from the consumers, broadcasters and cinemas who provided them with the experience. To date feedback for this year has been great. Some of this is due to technology, but a larger part is due to experience. Last year there was no bench mark, but this year we had a target to aim beyond”.
Reflecting on this year’s production CAN’s Duncan Humphreys, the Head of Production for Wimbledon 3D said, "It was a real pleasure to work, once again, so closely with AELTC, SONY, NEP Visions and all the key crew members, it felt like we had put the band back together! The actual production was pretty much flawless even though the weather presented a few challenges, cold and wet with the roof open, warm and dry with it closed. It's a tremendous experience working at the Championships and I look forward to developing the production further in 2013".
For more news on Wimbledon 3D visit 3D Focus at www.3dfocus.co.uk