After our write-up of the preparation for the BBC broadcasting the 2011 Wimbledon finals in 3D, we thought we’d do a round-up of people’s experiences and opinions of tennis in 3D, like we did for Sky’s debut of 3D football back in February 2010. Is tennis more suited to 3D than other sports? Does the depth perception make a significant viewing difference? Is 3D tennis another reason to upgrade to a 3DTV?
OK, our first stop, surprisingly, is Australia, where Gizmodo have a review of the men’s final by Seamus Byrne who watched it in 3D at a local cinema. Judging from the plaudits, Seamus was very impressed and, despite being someone who is, “not at all keen on the 3D experience in cinemas”, he commented, “Tennis may just be one of the perfect sports to watch in 3D on a very, very big screen.” which he based mainly on the fact that the cameras focus on the tennis court and don’t need to pan around so much to follow the action as they do in football. He added…
I’d heard Nadal put astounding spin on the ball, and you get a sense of it in 2D. But in 3D I could truly perceive how far the ball would curve and dip off his racquet and with real kick. I felt I could follow the action in a long rally better than ever before when sitting at home.
After the first set I moved to the second row of the theatre. That’s when I was hooked. With the pictures taking over my field of view I now really felt I was sitting there in the midst of the action. Amazing pictures giving me a real view of two men at war on a tennis court.
Another reviewer from far-flung shores was Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, who watched the ladies Wimbledon final in 3D, again at a local cinema. He was also impressed with the 3D presentation, saying,
Previous 3D experiments with football and basketball work to some degree, but not as well as tennis or boxing. The screen is less cluttered, the combatants more intimate and dynamic. It can feel like a video game at the highest level, but with real human movements.
At the right angle, a 100-plus mph serve flies right at the audience.
It’s tough not to flinch.
On his blog, Alexandros Maragos describes a visit to a cinema in Greece (I had no idea we would be doing such an international review of the Wimbledon finals in 3D!) and says, “The Nadal – Djokovic rivalry in 3D was simply stunning & a unique tennis experience.” Alex has some great photos of the event.
Finally, HDWars watched the men’s final in 3D on a 100-inch screen and have done a great review covering many positive and negative aspects of the 3D tennis. Overall, though, their review was positive…
It’s fair to say, then, that there’s plenty for the BBC – and the 3D world at large – to work on ahead of future 3D broadcasting events. Nonetheless, overall we now feel confident as die-hard tennis fans that we would choose to watch future tennis finals on the BBC in 3D if they’re available. Especially if improvements can be made in some of the negative areas we’ve touched on.
Interestingly, the comment on their blog post was by someone who, “watched the finals on our 40″ Samsung 3D LED TV and thought they were great.” and, ”Many thanks to the BBC. I hope that they broadcast many more programmes in 3D” which just goes to show that the extra dimension that 3D brings can be appreciated on a normal-sized 3DTV and that tennis seems well suited to being broadcast in 3D.
Overall, it seems that Wimbledon in 3D was a good experiment for the BBC, with generally positive impressions.