At 6.30pm Eastern, Foxtel’s temporary 3D channel 200 broke from its advertising loop that had been playing all day to go to the pre-game show in the lead up to the “friendly” soccer match between Australia and New Zealand. The game was the last for the Socceroos before they head to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The coverage featured a new Fox Sports 3D logo as well as the countdown to the 3D coverage of the main event. Broadcast in side by side 3D, when viewed on a 3D TV with 3D glasses, both the countdown clock featuring rotating 3D glasses and the Fox Sports 3D logo appeared to be several inches in front of the screen.
The pre-game show itself was not in 3D except for a brief moment when they showed what the footage would be like through one of the cameras. A Sony representative was there to explain how Sony 3D Tvs would be available in June and that they had not rushed them out yet so they could make sure they were perfect. Meanwhile, Samsung has 3D TVs out now, and the coverage for Throng was viewed on a Samsung series 7 55” LED 3D TV.
As the countdown continued, there were many well-wishers shown including PM Kevin Rudd for the Socceroos World Cup campaign. Some of the team were shown the 3D facilities and were impressed with the effects.
The first ad break on the channel featured a lengthy Nike ad based around soccer and the World Cup. That was followed by the first ever 3D ad in Australia, by Jetstar. The Jetstar ad featured planes flying at the viewer, as well as 3D letter promoting their 3D sale – which was essentially about being able to buy tickets to selected destinations, on selected dates, for travel in March 2011, for just $3. The Jetstar ad ultimately features four times during the overall broadcast.
Come 7.30pm, and 3D coverage began. The layout of the players in each team were shown in 3D, as well as some 3D footage of the Australians training. Australia first, followed by New Zealand.
With the game underway, it was hard to actually focus on what was going on with the soccer with your attention being dragged away by the depth of the 3D images. People on the sidelines looked like they were in front of your TV, while the highlight for the first 15 minutes of the game was seeing sea gulls fly past and almost at the cameras. The commentary team made many comments about the birds, a familiar feature at the MCG, but even moreso dramatic flying out of your TV screen in 3D. The commentary team also made mention of the fact that this 3D broadcast was an Australian first many times during the coverage.
As for the game itself, New Zealand scored first just past the 15 minute mark. The first half was relatively sedate -even for a soccer match – with the 3D sea gulls and side line views being the highlight of the coverage. During the second half, the Socceroos ramped up their campaign, but it was not until the 57th minute another goal was scored. With scored levelled at one all, the game featured a few near misses form both sides.
At 90 minutes, a 3 minute extension was granted. Still at one-all, it looked like the game was going to end in a draw. Then – according to the clock on screen – in the 93rd minute, a goal was scored by Australia. End result – Australia 2, NZ 1. For the last ten minutes or so, it had been raining in Melbourne.
The 3D coverage concluded showing highlights of the match before finishing at around 9.30. The game itself repeats overnight four times before Fox Sports 3D shuts down for now. At the end, seeing people move onto the field, as well as the side line shelter for the team was a 3D stand out.
All in all, I’d have to say a successful trial broadcast, and 3D coverage will only grow from here. Foxtel is yet to announce future 3D events at this stage, but expect to hear a lot more in coming days, weeks and months.
Now – all eyes turn to Nine’s coverage of the Rugby League State of Origin between NSW and QLD on Wednesday night (May 26, from 7.30pm). Then – its back to soccer as SBS takes on 3D coverage for the FIFA World Cup 2010.