Marc Loftus
September 1, 2010


This year’s US Open, which runs for a week and a half, is being broadcast in 3D by both CBS and DirecTV, and is making use of some of Panasonic’s professional 3D solutions.

The US Tennis Association’s executive director Gordon Smith described the US Open as “the greatest show in tennis” and as one of the highest attended events in sports, with over 720,000 fans viewing matches in person. This year’s broadcast in 3D, says Smith, follows the USTA’s history of innovation. In 1973, the event awarded equal prize money, he noted, and in 2006, the event introduced the use of instant replay. The 3D experience, says Smith, is a new way to engage tennis fans.

DirecTV is broadcasting the Open on its n3D network, which launched earlier this year. The network has already broadcast sporting events such as the MLB All-Star Game, NASCAR races and PGA tournaments, so network senior VP Stephen Roberts says consumers should not fear that “there’s nothing to watch.” The same DirecTV receiver that is already in many consumers’ homes can be used to take advantage of the 3D network. All they need is a 3D TV.

And Panasonic reps pointed out that the company already offers numerous solutions for the home. In fact, Panasonic is packaging a 3D home theater system in its new SC-BTT350, and is planning a 3D- themed marketing campaign for the holiday season.

CBS Sports’ EVP of engineering, operations and production, Ken Aagaard, said the venue for the US Open — Arthur Ashe Stadium — is well suited to create an effective 3D experience. CBS Sports covered the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis back in April, but Lucas Oil Stadium was a much larger stadium by comparison. For the US Open, CBS Sports worked with Vince Pace ( on the camera set ups, choosing 3D rigs that shadow the traditional 2D broadcast cameras. This includes a cover camera, a low-mid camera, and a camera situated opposite the umpire.

Panasonic’s brand new 3DA1 camcorder, which captures 3D to SD memory cards, just started shipping last week and will be used at the US Open for crowd and concourse shots, as well as for interviews in between matches, and during potential rain delays.

In related 3D news, John Baisley, who’s with Panasonic’s media & production services business, announced that Createasphere (www. is teaming up with the manufacturer to offer four two-day 3D workshops across the country. He also mentioned that Bexel ( was building a 53-foot mobile 3D truck that would be available to rent for 3D productions. The truck will be equipped six 3D camera rigs; four 3Ality Digital models and two of the new Parallax3 Renegade models. All will be equipped with the Panasonic AK-HC1500G 1080i/720p HD cameras.