Wednesday, 20 July 2011

3D TV proves that content is still king

Although I’m not a tennis fan, I did spend some time following the Wimbledon Championships this year – mostly to see how well the live 3D broadcasts worked. The conclusion seems to be that it was not as successful as it could have been. Technically the BBC did a great job of broadcasting 3D at Wimbledon but as is often the case, the issue is not the technology so much as the content.

Content is still king, and 3D doesn’t change that. 3D hasn’t been successful in the past because it was often used as a gimmick rather than as a tool to drive compelling stories, and there is still a risk that this will continue to be the case. While we can now convert movies filmed in 2D to provide a 3D experience, that doesn’t mean the results (or the movies) are any good. John Cassy, channel director for Sky 3D pointed this out at the recent Intellect Consumer Electronics 2011 event:

"It's very easy to make bad 3D … At Sky we only make native 3D programmes, and our first stage of production is always to forget about the 3D altogether. Because first and foremost, it's a TV programme - and if the story isn't right or it doesn't make any sense or it's not compelling, it's not good enough and we won't buy it."

Andrew Denham from Panasonic agrees: "Hollywood damaged 3D by rushing so many badly converted films out in the Avatar's wake."

It’s easy to get caught up in the technology and forget what the end user wants. 3D is still “appointment viewing” for most people – you’ll watch a special event in 3D, but not your regular evening’s TV. A glut of poor (or poorly-converted) content, coupled with the continuing expense and inconvenience of 3D glasses, could stop this being special enough for people to justify it. It still remains to be seen if the industry has learned the lessons of previous 3D fads.

No comments: