The World Cup in 3-D

I haven’t watched the film Avatar in 3-D yet, only the normal 2-D video. I can only imagine the audience reaction as the characters and assorted objects literally popped out of the screen. I think 3-D was created for, and is ideal for action films, but wait…

Although sport is filled with action (for the most part), you wouldn’t normally expect to watch it in 3-D. However, sport has not been spared the attentions of the 3-D aficionado’s at our sports broadcasting networks, and thus the 2010 World Cup football tournament is currently being broadcast for the time in glorious 3-D; around 25 matches at least.

I’m really lucky to be working as a Media Venue Manager on the FIFA project here in South Africa, and caught the first half of two games, in FIFA’s HD Cinema, located at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), right next to the Soccer City stadium, host of the opening ceremony and final game.

Unlike action films which I suspect leaves one twisting and turning in one’s seat, dodging things popping out the screen, 3-D sport scenes really gives one the impression of being right there at the stadium. It’s the next best thing to actually sitting in the crowd. You get the feeling that you’re looking into a box with live persons performing inside. It’s utterly amazing, and I am now convinced that there is no other way to watch sport; most sports at any rate.

Having to wear those geeky-looking 3-D glasses over my own pair of spectacles is not exactly comfortable, but tolerable considering the unique opportunity I’m being accorded to watch for free. For those who don’t have those new 3-D TV sets that are now being sold everywhere (at huge cost), some of the games will be broadcast in selected cinemas around the world. I highly recommend taking in at least one game; it’s a truly memorable experience.

It’s a given that the technology will evolve and true 3-D TV sets which don’t require those pesky glasses will probably be commercially viable pretty soon. I’ve heard that we can expect to watch 3-D holograms of matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

2010 World Cup: Touching but not feeling

It’s finally here. No more days to count down – just hours. The 2010 FIFA Football World Cup is about to kick off in South Africa, and I’m right in the middle of it all; touching it, but unfortunately not feeling it as I should.

Maybe it’s because I’m too busy making sure the world can enjoy all the games in full high-definition and even 3-D, by working on building and maintaining the broadcasting network. Or maybe because I’m so exhausted after months, no years, of working on this project. At any rate, I’m smack bang in the middle of it all, but I somehow don’t get to enjoy too much of it.

I catch glimpses of video feeds coming in from all the stadiums and other parts of the country, while visiting broadcasters, sports networks, radio networks and other media in their cubicles and studios, here at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) where I’m stationed for the duration of the tournament, but it all seems so disconnected, so far away, almost unreal. And mixed with it all, there’s this multitude of nations and languages from around the world; cameramen, journalists, television presenters, beautiful women and important-looking men, all conspiring to disorient me even further.

It could just be that I’m simply mesmerized by all this show of technology; a lot of which is being used for the very first time in FIFA World Cup history. Perhaps I’m sub-consciously taking it all in and storing it away, for playback at a later stage. In case this is just wishful thinking, will someone please fill me in on the spectacle I’ve missed.