3D TV demands simpler solutions

ESPN tackles sports graphics with less is more philosophy

As the FIFA World Cup, MLB Home Run Derby and other sporting events go live in stereo 3D, production teams are addressing the unique challenges of broadcast graphics.

Sports fans are accustomed to elaborate moving graphics all around the screen. But for 3D telecasts, graphic designs must be carefully rethought.

ESPN, which launched ESPN3D on June 11, is taking a simpler-is-better approach to 3D graphics.

Bob Toms, ESPN’s VP of production enhancements, says, “Now if you put a graphic on the screen, you have to take into account what picture it will it be used on and how you set the depth (and placement).

“We found that for the most part, at screen depth or slightly behind screen depth is workable for graphics that will be held for a long period of time,” Toms adds.

Depth adds another puzzle for Toms’ team, but can be a benefit, too.

“Graphics that you want to call attention to — which is a wonderful thing about 3D — you can bring out from the screen at little bit more. Hopefully not in a way that is obnoxious, but in a more elegant fashion. But you have to be careful of how you use that and limit yourself.”

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