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ESPN Ups Number of 3D Events for the Year

Earlier this month in a conversation at The Cable Show, Bryan Burns of ESPN suggested that the network’s new 3D channel would showcase 65 events in 2010 even after the World Cup. But reporter Glen Dickson got the scoop at a recent conference that ESPN will likely feature a total of 100 3D events this year. That’s up from the original projection of 85.

Given production expenses, ESPN’s commitment to its new channel signals just how much the network is betting on the popularity of 3D TV. Money isn’t the only thing ESPN is investing either. One of the most interesting things I learned from Burns is how different it is to shoot a 3D event from a 2D one. Production crews are re-learning their jobs to accommodate the different perspective afforded by an additional dimension.

HD sports broadcasts use a lot of tight shots and quick cuts. That doesn’t work in 3D. In fact, if you watched The Masters last month, you may have noticed that there were no close-up shots following the ball. Instead, the cameramen pulled their shots out until the ball got close to landing. That’s a radically different approach to sports broadcasting.

In other news, Dickson reports that ESPN just finished shooting its first 3D promotional spot around the “This is SportsCenter” theme. If it’s half as funny as the Landon Donovan spot they’re airing now, I might have to take in some 3D coverage just for the commercials.

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