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Olympic ceremonies and 100m final will be in 3D on the BBC

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Roger Mosey | 15:30 UK time, Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It was in September 2009 that I first wrote in this blog about our technical ambitions and the possibility of some 3D coverage of London 2012.

Here's what I said at the time: "We could, and I believe should, capture some of the Games in 3D. Nobody would expect the Games of 2012 to be comprehensively in 3D because the technology will be nothing like widespread enough; but it would be a shame not to have any images of London that were part of an experiment with what will be one of the next big waves of change."

That was followed up last summer with a specific piece about 3D - which generated some pretty polarised comments.

And they, along with market analysis and wider audience research, have helped shape our policy on 3D for London 2012.

We've always been clear we were never going to have a 3D channel for the Olympics and the BBC's overall approach to 3D has been very much on the lines of an experiment around special events like Wimbledon and Strictly Come Dancing.

This caution has been in line with consumer demand - 3D has spread more slowly than we perhaps expected in 2009 and there have been interesting developments abroad with France's Canal Plus announcing that it's stopping its 3D channel because it just hadn't met its targets.

Fireworks exploding outside Beijing's National 'Bird Nest' Stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics.

London 2012 organisers Locog will hope to match the spectacular opening ceremony staged for the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Pic: Getty Images.

But we do believe it's right for the BBC to go ahead with a 3D experiment this summer.

First, it's part of the story of innovation around the London Games - and with the host broadcasters' feed available in 3D we wanted to share some of that with UK audiences.

Second, the industry will only know what customers want if we have actual data on their use of 3D and there's no bigger stage on which to try this out than the Olympics.

So here's what we're announcing today that we intend to offer in 3D:

• The Olympic opening Ceremony live
• The men's 100m final live
• Nightly highlights in 3D
• The Olympic closing Ceremony live

We've chosen these events partly because they mark the pinnacles of the Games but also to minimise the loss of HD that is a consequence of our 3D service.

The pattern will be that our main standard-definition transmission will be on BBC One, the HD simulcast will be on BBC One HD and then the 3D version will be on the BBC HD Channel - as we did with Wimbledon.

For the nightly highlights, they'll feature a range of sports on the BBC HD channel after the live action has finished. In other words, this is using "spare" capacity on BBC HD.

I should note it's not yet clear how much of the ceremonies will be shot in 3D but otherwise opening and closing have the advantage that there's no competing sport, and therefore no loss of choice for HD viewers. But that wouldn't have been the case if we'd expanded our 3D coverage over the rest of the 17 days.

So if we had, for instance, decided to do a whole night of athletics in 3D on Friday 3 August then we'd have lost swimming and other sports from BBC HD - which would have disadvantaged the far larger number of people who'd want to watch that.

The aim, then, is to showcase 3D for the biggest moments but to preserve choice in a world of conflicting demands. We'll look forward to your feedback now, but more especially in Games-time, about whether we've got that balance right.


  • Comment number 1.

    So what your saying is that despite having BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC HD, BBC ONE HD, BBC THREE & BBC FOUR that the BBC wont have enough "capacity" to show more than ONE live 3D event during the entire Olympics???? I would be interested to know which other countries are receiving this spectacle in 3D from the BBC and how much they are willing to show in 3D? I'm pretty sure that most countries will show more than one paltry event! What a wasted opportunity to showcase our technology to the World, again the BBC manages to steal defeat from the jaws of victory. I also remember feeling totally ripped off by the BBC when they dropped the quality of their BBC HD channel a little while ago, now yet again after been told "3D, its the future!" yet again the BBC have managed to totally rip off its viewing public. Thank you.

  • Comment number 2.

    I was hoping that with the delay of C5 taking the fifth Freeview HD slot that the BBC could have a temporary Olympics 3d channel.

    At least we're getting some. It's a shame though, that as the host nation we're not getting as much of the Olympics in 3d as other countries.

  • Comment number 3.

    I totally agree with Matthew - spot on. This would have been the perfect opportunity to show just how good this technology can be with the BBC showing the world what a first rate broadcaster it can be. How is it going to be possible to use this to judge how popular/unpopular 3D content is and how much of a market there is for it if you don't give a choice of being able to view a decent amount of content? The market is there, and it would be even bigger if people thought they could watch the Olympics in 3D because it would lead to a surge in 3D TV sales in the same way as The World Cup always leads to an increase in TV sales every 4 years.

  • Comment number 4.

    Spot on with your 3D plans, especially considering the minimal demand. No coverage is lost by offering the ceremonies in 3D, and highlights is a sensible compromise for the rest. Ironic though the only event you'll screen in 3D is one that is running in a straight line!

    I always said when the interactive streams were lost to make way for BBC HD that there was a danger that as soon as the next big thing came along BBC HD might be sacrificed - so thank god common sense has prevailed and we won't lose a HD stream in favour of BBC 3D. And if the third Freeview HD stream becomes available to the BBC at least for the duration of the games I hope it's used as a third HD stream rather than 3D - though a mix of the two wouldn't be bad.

    Would still prefer an extra interactive stream of course and personally still think using BBC2 during the day rather than extending BBC3 would provide viewers with more options, but heck - we've been through that before and it's not worth going over again. I had intended on possibly getting Sky in for the additional interactive content you could get from the BBC for the Olympics and Wimbledon - but with some fool opting to axe all but one of their red button streams as a strange solution to us Freeview folk moaning it's not worth it now.

    P.S. Non Olympic question but out of interest is any of Euro 2012 being produced in 3D?

  • Comment number 5.

    A couple of points of information arising from @Matthew in #1:

    1. 3D only works from an HD channel, and we have just the two. More 3D means less HD, so Brekkie's points in #4 are right.

    2. The 3D feed is being produced by OBS, the host broadcaster. What we show in 3D will therefore be a global feed and it will differ from the main BBC One/BBC Three services which are customised for the UK.

  • Comment number 6.

    At least the Beeb are giving us some 3D but I agree, to see how 3D is accepted during the Olympics we should be given more coverage or a whole Chanel. Sky are doing nothing for 3D by forcing potential viewers to buy a hugely expensive package. They should also be encouraging the adoption of 3D but in a typically money grabbing, cynical move (like with HD), continue to not reward customer loyalty but try to fleece every last penny even at rhe detriment of popularising 3D viewing.

  • Comment number 7.

    Roger, this seems fair to me. Personally I will want to watch as much in HD as possible so I'm very glad no more space has been taken up with 3D.

    My question is that will there be any chance of a third HD channel? Channel 5 were going to launch on Freeview but failed to do so, and as I understand it the slot now goes to the BBC. So seems sensible to have the freeview red button stream in high definition?

  • Comment number 8.

    Just a shame us in North East England don't get Freeview HD (nevermind 3D) until well after the Olympics. It always feels like we (along with Northern Ireland) are the poor relations. In not sure the BBC is getting it's priorities right. We all pay the licence fee you know.

  • Comment number 9.

    @Robinho02 in #7: it's one of the ideas under consideration, yes, but nothing firm yet.

  • Comment number 10.

    Roger, firstly thank you for taking the time to actually read the comments, its makes a nice change to see some of the beeb "top brass" actually taking an interest in what its customers want for a change.

    Anyhow, you point is well taken that 3D needs a HD channel, that's fine however SURELY one or two events could have been pushed onto BBC Three, BBC four or BBC Two etc. So we the 3D viewing public could have seen this once in a lifetime British Olympics in all its glory! Over the entire span of the Olympics I'm positive the viewing public wouldn't mind a couple of events on BBC three or four! But to give only ONE event in 3D! Thank goodness the BBC didn't do that with HD let alone "colour TV", we'd all still be watching 405 lines black and white! You have such a massive "on a plate" opportunity here to show the World that the BBC is really capable of pushing the technological boundaries and showing the viewing public what 3D is all about.

    The excitement and build up of watching the Olympics in 3D is starting to feel like yet another wasted opportunity....

  • Comment number 11.

    @bohemian73 - It is looking likely that the 5th Freeview HD slot will be coming to Film4 HD. Although at the moment the BBC has yet to officially announce what they will do with the channel and the time scale should example of Film4 HD taking the channel.

    I take it with the name of BBC HD still remaining until the olympics then the planned change to BBC Two HD will be delayed until, at least, after the Olympics. Or could their be a potential that the current channel be rebranded to BBC Two HD before the olympics and then utilise the above 5th Slot on Freeview for the BBC HD/3D channel till the Olympics.

  • Comment number 12.

    Being within the CE industry I've learnt of some news that a unannounced deal with a said TV manufacture will bring a BBC Sport Live TV & Catchup TV app this year, in time for the olympics.

    This would tie into providing HD content that was trailed last year during the F1 (Hungarian GP?) on the BBC Sport homepage. Is the technology there for the Beeb to provide 3D content on this said app when it launches?

  • Comment number 13.


    That's what Freesat was launched for. Your licence fee funds it.

  • Comment number 14.


    I see where you're coming from but it doesn't fund the £300+ the get the kit and install it.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am just wondering how much of my licence fee is going up against a wall for so little 3D, Director of 2012 ? How much is this guy getting paid?
    The BBC will I reckon be making a number of people very wealthy indeed plus the usual perk of honours lists to follow......... The whole thing is over hyped gravy train and Coe has had his nose in the trough first!

  • Comment number 16.

    @Kingfisherphil I sure being that cynical makes you feel warm inside-but it contributes nothing to the debate. If you don't like the Olympics there are plenty of other channels.

    OT I don't think 3D appeals as much more than a gimmick. But it seems to be a fact that hardly anyone watches it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hardly anyone watches it because broadcasters are not making an effort to show it to the viewer. Roger states that 3D has grown slowly since 2009, yet last Christams was the first year major releases were regularly made available on Blu-ray 3D and Sky 3D is only available to subscribers on the top-priced package, so what does he expect.

    I know many people who have recently bought 3DTVs who don't get Sky 3D and want to watch more content. Look at the recently released Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray 3D, it is currently the second best-selling Blu-ray title on Amazon.

    3D is not an 'experiment', it is here to stay. How can you judge viewer reaction on a paultry 10 seconds (or less) of live action at the Olympics? Ridiculous in the extreme.

    I can already see the next article stating that Euro 2012 will not be shown in 3D either! After this announcement, Eurosport should be trying as hard as they can to negotiate with Sky to somehow show the 3D footage on their platform.

  • Comment number 18.

    excellent! 100 m final in 3D praise the lord well worth losing 10 Formula 1 grand Prix for so that we can watch a 9 second event Pathetic bye bye BBC ! Hello Sky Sports

  • Comment number 19.

    I forgot to mention above the popularity of the Nintendo 3DS as well.

  • Comment number 20.

    I welcome the consideration of a third HD channel for the games - I think it really warrants it.

    I'm glad you've restricted the amount of 3D if it means loosing BBC HD channel to normal HD viewing, because I think, like you say, this will negatively impact too many of the HD only viewers who don't have 3D.

    Because you don't have a dedicated 3D channel, you basically can't offer 3D round the clock (and I doubt there is that much 3D output anyway coming from the Olympics). When you consider that probably only around 100,000 at most will watch in 3D, this makes sense

  • Comment number 21.

    Does this mean that you will broadcast the Games in Full HD resolution? 1920 x 1080 resolution rather than the reduced resolution BBC HD channels currently use? If BBC HD channel goes to 1920 for 3D , will you broadcast in 1920 at all other times and offer this resolution on both channels?

    What average bitrates will you operate during games time? I am told Eurosport HD is planning on using 14mbps which is typical minimum standard for HD sports broadcasting.

  • Comment number 22.

    Why can't the BBC covert all channels to HD and scrap the SD versions??

    HD downscales to SD on all TV's so why bother with it.
    There is a massive majority of HD tv's out there and it would be great to see the Beeb be bold an get rid of the SD all together.
    Then instead of a HD specific channel there can be a 3D channel pleasing the new generation. 

    3D is the new tech out there and it needs imbracing. Lets make the best Olympics EVER the starting block (excuse the pun)

  • Comment number 23.

    So the BBC can afford to spend OUR money on 3D broadcasting when there is very little demand yet can't afford to keep the F1 for another year at least.

    3D like every other time they have tried to bring it to the main stream will fail again and disappear as holographic tv will replace that then promptly fail as well.

    Will the olympics coverage win the awards and pull in the consistent high viewing figures the F1 has for the BBC, I doubt that very much. Well done BBC another waste of tax payers money for just a months worth of TV.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just on the point about the amount of 3D as in #10, #17 and others: the largest amount will be in the nightly highlights package, which we expect to be an hour long and most likely scheduled at 2300. So that will give a range of sports in 3D every day, while still prioritising HD.

    On the F1 comparison point in #18 and #23: our spending on 3D for the Olympics is a fraction of the cost of one single F1 race.

    Thanks for the other comments, including @digitalscoobiedoo in #20 - though #21 would not be my specialist subject on Mastermind...

  • Comment number 25.

    @Bohemian post # 8, I agree entirely with Derek. Get yourself on Freesat from the BBC. More HD than Freeview and not bandwidth constricted going forwards like Freeview allegedly is. Far better bet than Freeview.

    I welcome 3D as it's a much underrated technology. Even the old Red / Cyan system can be good if done correctly. The problem is much of the red / cyan system was done poorly in the past so either 2 images or ghosting could be seen.

    @Roger Mosey:

    1. What 3D system are you planning to use for the Olympics ie. red / cyan, polarised, shutter etc?

    2. Will you need a 3D tv or will it be watcheable on an ordinary tv with glasses?

    3. If the latter, can the BBC try and make some quality glasses available cheaply and advertise them on the BBC and get them in the shops? I know the BBC don't usually sell things but my line of thinking here, is that a lot of the poor 3D we've seen in the past has been 50% poor production and 50% those cheap cardboard glasses you get free in magazines.

    If the BBC is to sell 3D technology to the nation, they need an impressive result from their broadcasts and that's not going to be seen from cardboard red / cyan or cardboard polarised glasses. What the BBC really need to do is get some quality glasses out there at low cost. eg I recently bought some plastic sun glass style red / cyan glasses from Amazon for a couple of pounds. With the BBC's buying power, I'm sure you could get some quality 3D glasses in the supermarkets for a £1 or £1.50 a pair and with heavy promotion well in advance, get some sales.

  • Comment number 26.

    @Gloss # 23, the cost to the BBC is minimal as to produce 3D all you need is a frame to hold 2 cameras the correct distance apart. The only difference in broadcasting terms is a little more bandwidth, the cost of which is insignificant.

    What is more significant is the £50M or so the BBC allegedly has to pay to Sky every year for the costs of retransmission of its programming on Sky.

    Petition against the charges here:

    Anyway, back to 3D!

  • Comment number 27.

    As an HD viewer who has no interest in 3DTV whatsoever, I am more than happy that any 3D coverage will not disadvantage HD coverage. The selection seems a sensible one.

  • Comment number 28.

    Great post Alsone, very interesting reading but, I bet when you add in all the extra coverage, the extra radio station and the possibility of further HD Olympic coverage which would have/will require a license to be purchased, the setting up of a dedicated team and we can see by the amount of coverage it has got on the website that the BBC is throwing all it can at the games, that isn't' all cheap.

    All we want from our F1 coverage is the race LIVE, drop all the guides, stop taking all the presenters and production teams to every race (can be done from a studio and the feed is provided by Bernie anyway), forums etc and I bet the costs wouldn't be that much different.

    After Alsones post the answer is pretty simple to me, give sky the Olympics as well. Save the BBC even more money they clearly need it. After all they are not averse to selling out the British public and care very little what our opinions are on the matter.

  • Comment number 29.

    I just recently purchased a 3D television mainly influenced by my anticipation of the Olympics. I feel great now,thanks a lot!

  • Comment number 30.

    3D is not taking off, despite the whingers on here claiming otherwise. It is an unpractical and sometimes uncomfortable viewing experience, and just doesn't seem to appeal to the public. It is also quite un-natural, in that our sense of depth becomes less pronounced the further away the subject is, ironically making sport the worst candidate for this treatment.

    Aside from that, millions of people have bought their first HD TV in the last couple of years. For many of them it was the first TV they had bought since widescreen became the norm, so they aren't going to be changing again for some years to come.

    For the BBC to provide content nobody will watch would upset a lot more people than the few on here (who, let's face it, never seem to be satisfied).

  • Comment number 31.

    I have no interest in 3D so I think it's good that HD coverage isn't being lost due to 3D being shown on BBC HD. Presumably we'll still have 4 choices of events during the day, two of which will be in HD (BBC One HD, BBC HD, BBC Two and 301). BBC Three and BBC Four would be useless since I imagine most events will finish before 19:00 so only BBC One HD will be needed for highlights, with BBC HD showing the highlights in 3D.

    I hoped that the spare Freeview HD slot (currently available for the BBC since Channel 5 turned it down again) could be used for a "BBC Olympics" channel, showing a mixture of 3D and HD content. It could then be used for BBC Two HD or given to Channel 4 after the Olympics (assuming Channel 5 STILL doesn't want it). There's also space on the BBC's DVB-S2 satellite transponder for an extra HD/3D channel so Freesat viewers wouldn't be left out either!

    Shame. :(

  • Comment number 32.

    What about some information about the super hi-definition screenings???

  • Comment number 33.

    Does the ceremony coverage in 3D impact alternative Freeview ceremony coverage - i.e. ceremony coverage with commentary from someone other Huw Edwards?

  • Comment number 34.

    @ Goss whereas I take your points I would say that:

    1. There's no need for extra coverage. At the end of the day you shoot with 2 cameras on the mount. You feed an output from one to the 2D uplink and both feeds to the 3D uplink. 3D at the end of the day is only 2 x 2D feeds.

    2. Can't see why you'd need further licensing. At the end of the day you shoot all the events using twinned cameras and just feed out one or two feeds depending on whether you want 2D or 3D. I'm not aware they're covering any events in 3D that wouldn't be otherwise covered in 2D.

    @30 Top Villan, it just depends on what your previous experience of 3D has been and also how well the material that you watched was produced. I've seen some very good 3D that was entirely life like, specifically when I viewed a Panasonic 50" 3D plasma on the preview disc in the shop. The results were amazing. Great depth of field and realism with the picture going back into the wall rather than out into the shop, and the shutter glasses the system used were very comfortable.

    The trouble with 3D is a lot of people are biased against it because of past viewing experiences with older inferior systems such as the early 80's red / cyan systems or badly produced films or a combination of both.

    I went into the shop to audition the Panasonic hating the idea of 3D and came out blown away by the quality and comfort. Comfortable glasses, no after effects, no after images.

    Equally I've seen some good red / cyan material although this is far more hit and miss in quality as production is far more critical to ensure the 2 images are the correct distance apart to stop ghosting. Again done correctly though it can produce some good 3D (in the past most films I've seen were done badly but then again computer tech has moved on a lot now).

    However, red /cyan does have a disadvantage in that it leaves you with a colour after image after you take the glasses off ie one eye still sees red tint and the other cyan until your brain re-adjusts.

    Shutter technology is very good all round though.

  • Comment number 35.

    People say that the BBC has BBC One, Two, Three, Four, OneHD and the HD Channel. It's not going to be great if those not especially interested in the olympics can't find any regular BBC content due to endless 3D simulcasts.

    The ceremonies and the 100m final is plenty to test out this still emerging medium.

  • Comment number 36.

    Alsone, my comments aren't purely about the 3D aspect. Its because the BBC are considering using the spare HD slot as Roger said above. Broadcasters have to buy a license for the slots they use, this would go to ofcom I believe who run the spectrum that's where the additional costs would be coming in. Plus the BBC are 'buying in' their 3D feed so I guess it would cost more than if they do it by themselves as a supplier needs to make money too. I was also commenting on all the other money the BBC have poured in to the Olympics which has clearly had a knock on effect on to its other sports, and I genuinely believe this is why we have lost our F1 coverage.

    As for 3D tech, its a complete waste of time. I think its there for all to see that the 3D tech has been about a few years now and the uptake has been very very slow when compared with HD. The only way it stands a chance is if the glasses-less TV sets suddenly become affordable and doesn't give you headaches after an hour like the Nintendo 3DS. Also remember when watching a 'preview' disk, this has probably been edited to help make the TV look as good as possible and might not be what its like when you get it home.

    Holographic TV will be here in a few years time to replace 3D so all these TV sets will become redundant anyway.

  • Comment number 37.

    Holographic TV won't be around for some time yet, if ever. The new super HD @ 16 x HD resolution (7680 x 4320 - 33.2 megapixels) should be awesome and it's not due on the Market until ~2020 and the technology is here already. Holographic TV? Not in my lifetime.

  • Comment number 38.

    Holographic TV is already a major part of R&D labs around the globe and can be done now all be it on a very costly scale. You will see it sooner than you think, maybe even along with your SHD

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi all!

    Just a quick note from me to answer some of Alsone's points.

    We will be transmitting a Side by Side stream for the Olympics. That is two 960 x 1080 images in one HD signal. Exactly the same as the Sky 3D Channels and as we transmitted the Wimbledon and Strictly 3D programmes. I also hope we can try the red button option again that will allow a 2D TV so display the content correctly framed (in 2D only though!).

    The coverage comes from the Olympic Host Broadcasting company who are feeding two discrete images and a pre-processed side by side image to broadcasters in the International Broadcast Centre.

    One of the interesting things we have all learned from early 3D trials is that camera positioning has the greatest impact on the 3D quality. Many traditional positions might be good for SD/HD in 2D but at best give a poor 3D experience or at worse just look very wrong!

    Using one of the 3D cameras for 2D works when the cameras are close to the point of interest - e.g. the steadycam shots from Strictly, but in large arenas the cameras are usually a long way from the action on very powerful lenses - very bad for 3D. This usually means there are two directors and vision mixers and shared cameras immediately leads to conflict - what looks good in 3D often is "boring" in 2D and what works in 2D to say the least is flat, or has the strange foreshortened look. Not to mention camera move that give you amazing clos-ups in 2D making you feel ill and disorientated on 3D due to edge violation and focus changes.

    The area of coverage is another factor that affects 3D quality. Again a big area of action can give a poorer 3D experience but it may be important to see the wider arena to know what’s going on! This doesn’t mean you can’t get good 3D out of a stadium, it means an event that allows low, close coverage will work better than one that keeps needing an overview of the wider action.

    I will report more as we get more!

  • Comment number 41.

    The new LG 3D Cinema passive TV's are getting positive reviews over the active shutter (heavy, battery powered glasses) which give many headaches and can be tiring after a while.

    Passive glasses are very light and cheap (₤1 a pair) and give a brighter picture than their active counterparts.

    Anyone who has tried active and didn't like it, should give passive a go.

    It's a shame that such negativity about the early active shutter sets has put people off getting 3d.

    It's not all bad though. I read that before Christmas 40% of new TVs sold were 3d ready and viewing figures increased substantially from 18,000 for Wimbledon in July to 71,000 for Strictly in December (and no doubt the BARB panel is not updated on a weekly basis for 3d ownership).

    As for the Canal+ 3d service in France closing, I understand it only had one sporting event and one film per month and it cost extra. Not surprised it didn't take off.

  • Comment number 42.

    Are there any plans to show put some of the Olympic 3d events in cinemas, as happened with the Wimbledon and Strictly Come Dancing finals last year?

  • Comment number 43.

    RacingBear - re: scrapping SD channels for HD channels. The way Freeview HD works means that can't really happen as essentially all "HD ready TVs" are unable to receive the HD channels without an additional Freeview HD box (or Sky HD etc.) so in the short to medium term at least the simulcasts will need to remain until HD becomes standard, which will probably require another "digital switchover" - and by which time the next generation of HD broadcasting will probably be breaking through anyway.

    And god, can't believe some folk are still whining about F1 - that's the reason I stopped visiting this place over the last couple of months.

  • Comment number 44.

    @Derek #41 I agree entirely.

    Many people believe that once you've sampled 3D tv that's it. In fact there are 3 modern systems on the market Shutter, Passive (polarised) and Lenticular (glasses free). Even within these systems, there's a huge difference in quality. eg. One manufacturers shutter system may be far inferior to another. So to assume that you've seen 3D because you auditioned a particular 3D set is a farce. Unless you've sampled many manufacturers systems including the top expensive ones, you can't possibly pass judgement on 3D.

    I sat through nearly an hour of demo on the Panasonic Shutter Plasma I auditioned and had no after effects whatsoever. Within minutes I forgot I had glasses on they were so comfortable.

    @Goss # 39, I believe that isn't holographic. It mentions a screen which presumably would have to sit in the middle of your room. I believe the effect you would be seeing is known as Pepper's Ghost and I believe it was 1st demonstrated around the turn of the century.

    I believe this is a Pepper's Ghost effect (despite being labelled a hologram):

    Even then you'll notice the poor sharpness and poor washed out colours. Great for a stage show like this, but would that really sell you a tv plus imagine the cost of system that incorporated 16 projectors!!!

    This is the best true holographic projection made to my knowledge:

    Again sufficient for your viewing experience?

    I suggest that conventional 3D tv will be around for a long time yet and is the future until true holography becomes possible.

    Most likely what you will see is a switch to lenticular systems once the problems can be overcome.

    However, anyway, we should be welcoming the BBC for investing in the future of tv. If they hadn't done this when HD only had a handful of viewers with HD tv's I doubt we'd have been watching HD now.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well if thats how you regard other peoples opinions Brekkie lets hope thats the last your seen for another few months!

    I think considering WE pay for the BBC to exisist they should listen to its viewers/listeners. The BBC management know they have messed up big time and is why they are refusing to answer questions on it, they sold the public out its that simple. The BBC in my eyes will never be a trustworthy organisation again.

  • Comment number 46.

    The frustrating thing is that the BBC are quick to publicise the fact that there will be screenings in 3 cities utilising super hi definition with custom made screens - but try and find any further information and no one has any idea!! Please, please Mr Mosey, how do we get tickets!!!!?????

  • Comment number 47.

    Disappointing but hardly surprising.

    Disappointing that with over 200 hours going to be output in 3D by the Olympic Broadcasters, the BBC is only showing 4-5 hours.

    Other countries will get to see all the 3D content because their broadcasters have dedicated 3D channels. However, even thought it is in our back yard we get to see virtually none of it.

    Pity the BBC could not have come to some arrangement with Sky and then everyone would have been happy.

  • Comment number 48.


    the BBC don't have to invest anything in producing this in 3D, as that is already being done by the Olympic Broadcasting Corp. The BBC just has to take the 3D feed just like any other broadcaster.
    There only problem is the lack of channels to broadcast it on.

    They should at least let Sky take the feed instead, so it is available in full somewhere, even if the viewer has to pay for it via a Sky sub. It's still better than nothing, which is the BBC's position it appears.

    It seems that they think that if they can't broadcast it, then no one should be able to see it. Shame. And they wonder why people turn to piracy....

  • Comment number 49.

    OBC is actually producing over 200 hours of 3D and so once again foreign viewers will be getting a better service than licence payers. Citizenlow it is the failure of the BBC to secure enouch channels is the problem. The BBC has waisted billions on buildings and now does not have enough money to provide a half decent service. Why do the BBC insist on calling these 3D programmes as experiment. There is nothing experimental about it at all. The BBC is once again discouraging advances in technology just as it is doing with HD which is not available yet to most freeview viewers. The excuse of the French service closing down in pathetic. In January 2011 Sky reported having 70000 3D subscribers which was about half the number of 3D sets sold and that 3D was growing as fast as HD did at the start.

    The problem is that licence fee is failing to provide the service licence payers expect. The BBC needs to find new ways to get funded and also needs better management of the money they do have.

    I also agree that the Olympics should have been offered to other broadcasters. The BBC just cannot do justice to such a big event. Infact Eurosport has Olympic broadcasting rights in the UK but only have one HD channel the moment.

  • Comment number 50.

    OK, here's my take -

    3D is a "special effect" that enhances some films or programs. Emphasises on "special effect" and "some".

    Films specifically designed and created in 3D are good, Avatar being a good example.
    Re-rendering 2D films into 3D rarely works.

    Sports in 3D, I honestly can't think of one that 3D would work on or enhance the viewing pleasure. Take the 100m final (or any running event for that matter), are the runners going to be running out of the screen? Maybe a camera can be placed in the middle of the track so the runners seem to come out the side of the screen as they run past?

    What about the javelin? Are you going to have a cameraman down field so he can capture the flight of the javelin to make it appear to come out of the screen?

    Seriously, sports in 3D (maybe women's beach volleyball would work!) just isn't worth the effort, time or money.

    The opening and closing ceremony... Only time will tell, but it will depend on what is happening during the ceremony, fireworks would/should be excellent, somebody stood on stage singing? sorry, not 3D material.

    I said at the start and say again:

    "3D is a "special effect" that enhances some films or programs. Emphasises on "special effect" and "some".

  • Comment number 51.

    @CardZeus in #46: the screenings will be at Pacific Quay in Glasgow; at the National Media Museum in Bradford; and at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House in London. More information about how to get to the events will be given nearer the time, but we're looking at hour-long shows that will be repeated throughout each Games day so thousands of people will get a chance to experience SHV.

  • Comment number 52.

    I want to know where the Money is coming for this?
    The BBC Sport Budget has been cut and we've seen this and so have many F1 Fans) so wheres the Money to put the Ceremonies in 3D or 100m??

  • Comment number 53.

    @CitizenLoz #48. Point taken. I didn't know if there was any additional cost but thought in any event it would be low as the feeds would be from 2 x 2D cameras and just taken as 1 feed for 2D and 2 feeds for 3D, leaving only the processing teams as the extra cost plus a little extra bandwidth. I believe it was an earlier poster who was worried about the extra expense to the BBC.

    @49 Trevor Harris, I agree that its completely wrong that the BBC should give a better service to overseas viewers than its own domestic licence payers. This is already seen with HD where overseas viewers allegedly get a much higher bit rate on satellite. I think with 3D, domestic and overseas 3D broadcasting should be the same.

    So far as your point on Freeview and HD is concerned. There's a very good reason why there's no more HD on Freeview - I understand there is insufficient bandwidth. The government is selling off the old analogue frequencies and the current Digital bandwidth is as I understand it, full on Freeview. So the only way they can make space on Freeview is by reducing quality further or by advances in compression technology which is unlikely to keep up with advances in viewing tech such as HD and 3D. For that reason, Freeview is likely to have less HD than eg Freesat and is likely to be unable to accommodate 3D should it take off going forwards.

    I don't know what's happening for the Olympics but would think it unlikely that Freeview will have 3D coverage.

    You can't blame the BBC for bandwidth problems on terrestrial.

  • Comment number 54.

    I think some people are missing an important point here.
    The BBC isn't filming/producing anything in 3D, the Olympic Broadcasting Corporation in (OBC). OBC isn't the BBC. The BBC are not responsible for filming anything an providing it to other countries.

    So it isn't a case that the BBC are providing 3D broadcasts to other countries, but not the UK. Nor a case that the BBC are 'wasting' licence payers money producing 3D broadcasts. The Olympics committee is doing that.

    My disappointment is purely that given that all this 3D footage is being produced (over 200 hrs of it), that so little of it will be broadcast in the UK where the Olympics is taking place.

  • Comment number 55.

    I don't really see 3D as a special effect. The goal of 3D should be to make the picture more natural as most of use view the world through 2 eyes. It is easier to achieve this with recorded programmes as alot of 3D adjustments can be made post production. With live events getting good 3D is more difficult. The use of multiple cameras also add to the difficulty as they must be matched for 3D depth. This is where the BBC really messed up in thier "Come Dancing" program and produced the worse 3D I have seen for ages.


    As for Sports being suitable for 3D we must recognise that Sky has considerable experience in this area particularly with football. We must remember the Olympic 3D pictures are being produced by Panasonic and not the BBC. Hopefully they will employ a experienced 3D crew.


    I was thinking about the fact that many areas are still not served by freeview HD.
    Yes Freeview HD is very limited at the moment but it is not true for satellite. Infact the BBC has been cutting back on the number of satellite transponders recently.

    An extra 7 Freeview multiplexes should be available by 2016 and so the BBC will have no excuse then.

    As for Super High Definition this is being done for Japaneese viewers. The BBC should not be spending any money on this as it is of no benifit to licence payers.

  • Comment number 56.

    Many thanks for taking time to answer my query, cheers!

  • Comment number 57.


    3d is not a special effect. it's filming with two lenses slightly apart, as humans view with two eyes.

    Many people believe that 3d is all about objects flying into the room. In reality that's a tiny part of it, mainly CGI films.

    3d is about depth. I'm watching a documentary series on Sky3d now about Woburn Safari Park. It's like you're viewing through a window and the content on the TV screen appears to be going into the room behind, rather than just a flat panel when watching 2d.

    Back to the topic, it's very sad that the Olympics is in the UK for the first time in decades and we are getting less 3d coverage than other countries.

    The BBC did Wimbledon in colour in the sixties when only a few thousand had colour TVs, as the years have passed they now seem to pander to the have-nots in fear of upsetting them. The technology is there, it's a big event, rent a new transponder on Astra for a few weeks and give 3d the coverage it deserves.

  • Comment number 58.

    "So if we had, for instance, decided to do a whole night of athletics in 3D on Friday 3 August then we'd have lost swimming and other sports from BBC HD - which would have disadvantaged the far larger number of people who'd want to watch that."

    Perhaps you could extend that ethos to whole BBC Sports department.

    We want to watch sport above all else. I assume you saw the farce at the track cycling last night when we had Jake Humphrey chatting whilst there was action on the track behind him (including Ben Swift winning the Omnium scratch race, the crowd reaction giving away the result).

    Black and white, colour, SD, HD or 3D it makes no difference what format you broadcast the games if we end up watching a load of talking heads instead of live action.

  • Comment number 59.

    I must agree with you about talking heads. The BBC coverage last Olympics was ruined by these so called experts while importent events were taking place in the stadium. This year they have Hue Edwards, well I ask you what does he know about sport. Fortunatly Eurosport will be giving better quality coverage.

  • Comment number 60.

    I understand that there will be three venues with impressive, massive TV screens capable of showing, quote: Super Hi-Vision, a broadcast technology 16-times sharper than normal high definition.

    I'm sure I read, years ago, that the whole olympics was being recorded in Super Hi-Vision for posterity and downgraded to Standard Definition and Normal HD, for transmission.

    I was just wondering what will be the largest format that will be recorded? e.g. 1080p?

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi Please FILM THE BMX IN 3D! It's the perfect sport - it has dips and bends and depth and speed. We have been filming this sport in 3D for a whole year already and used a whole variety of camera's and know the best stereographers in the UK. You need to choose a sport where you can have diagonals - the 100m final work's well at "board room" level but ask any stereographer in the world and any kid you want to attract to 3D and they will all say BMX! It's designed for it. You can use super high speed camera's and have glory images in it for the high light's at the end of the day and even camera's on bike's to get a track shot. Plus "BBC MARKETING" You can give away the classic blue and cyan glasses to kids and STREAM it 3D on You Tube or on an Iplayer addition site so they can watch it in 3D if you're having issues with the HD channel. The global streaming services are all licensing 3D content now to stream in 3D through the net - even Apple have patented a 3D TV screen and there are tons of mobiles coming out with 3D screen's. Don't you want to be catching up with them or are you happy coming second. We say go for GOLD.

  • Comment number 62.

    Please could the BBC make sure that the 3D coverage has a good depth as personally I'm getting tired of all the shallow 3D movies and conversions around at the moment masquerading as proper 3D? In order to achieve that immersive feeling (which after all is the whole reason for 3D in the first place) the camera disparity needs to be set at a good distance i.e. with good separation between the stereo pairs. Too often, we get 3D where the stereo pairs are hardly different at all (taking your glasses off and looking at how wide the pairs are will illustrate this). The result of a small separation is a flat image where the objects have only a slight edge or roundness to them and there is no sense of actual depth or distance within the scene. The Olympics is a great opportunity for giving the audience a true feeling of what it's like to be in the open expanses of a stadium or to see the distances between athletes etc. I'm hoping to get a feeling of agoraphobia at times if the 3D is done well. Please, please don't let the audience down with this 3D coverage. We want full 3D with a large separation and depth otherwise it will be yet another nail in the coffin for 3D's popularity. I recommend a viewing of the "LG Demo clip Global" to get an idea of how good 3D can look.


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