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Default Will 3-D Sportscasting Save the Movie Theater?

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban gave a presentation to the FCC about the future of digital media, and his number one point -- obviously a little self-serving, but it wouldn't be Cuban if it wasn't -- was that people will be able to go to a movie theater and watch a major sporting event in 3-D.
Crazy talk? Not at all. We're going to see a lot of experiments in this realm over the next couple of years. As I wrote about in Portfolio, movie theaters are increasingly installing expensive equipment that will let them show digital 3-D films. Theaters will be looking for ways to make extra money on that investment.
Meanwhile, Pace Technologies has been developing live-action 3-D cameras chiefly for Hollywood. Pace cameras were used to shoot Journey to the Center of the Earth, and right now are shooting James Cameron's upcoming 3-D movie, Avatar. As it turns out, the cameras can also shoot live events in 3-D.
Earlier this year, I visited Pace and saw a demo -- and it truly is a different experience from seeing a game on 2-D television. It's not like seeing it live, either, but something different and interesting. As the Pace folks explained, for instance, they discovered that constant cutting to different shots -- a TV staple -- isn't necessary in 3-D. It seems better to let the camera take in the full-court action. Viewers feel a little like they're watching from halfway up the arena seats.
Cuban experimented with showing a Mavericks playoff game in a theater, and the NBA tried a closed-circuit 3-D broadcast of the 2007 All-Star game, showing it to only 600 people in a Las Vegas theater.
But there are high hopes in both sports and the theater industry around this. Imagine the local theater showing the Super Bowl in 3-D, or the World Cup soccer finals.
I'd go.


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