Wring even one “ooh” and/or “ahh” out of a typically cynical New York City audience without shooting yourself in the leg and you’ve really accomplished something. But the fact that the NFL was able to extort several of them last night for its first-ever 3-D broadcast of the Chargers-Raiders game should at least net somebody at 3ality Digital a league-mandated HJ.
In addition to viewings in Los Angeles and Boston, the invitation-only milestone screened at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema to a packed house, starring NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and over 500 industry and tech nerds all sporting 3-D glasses and buzzing about how life-like the players—and especially the cheerleaders—looked.
The 3-D broadcast boasted multiple angles from the field and the stands normally absent in an NFL broadcast. The reality and depth of the picture are incredible, and while you might feel dumb wearing the supplied 3-D shades—check that, you will feel dumb—the experience far outweighs the loss in vanity. There were gasps from the audience during the pre-game fireworks display… when Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson scored the game’s first touchdown… and again whenever they showed the cheerleaders. Other captivating shots included spying the team’s quarterbacks from the opposing secondary, and end zone shots that made you realize how fast the game and how big its players really are.
The most impressive part of watching a game in three-dimension is how much more action you can see versus a regular broadcast. The picture offers layers of visuals in which you can truly see the distance between players, their teammates on the sidelines and the fans in the stands. Occasionally, the picture or focus appear slightly blurry, and there were two satellite blackouts that underscored that while this may be the future of visual entertainment, it’s still a technology in progress. But despite the few glitches it was a fun experience and something I think people will enjoy as this emerging technology makes its way to more big screens and, ultimately, people’s homes—we’re sure the NFL won’t give you a choice.