The 2012 Wimbledon Men’s Final attracted a whopping 17 million viewers last Sunday but many of them weren’t getting the full experience. Whilst they were at home in from of their TVs I was watching the final in ‘glorious’ 3D. The question though…. did what has up until now (in my opinion) only work as a gimmick? Did watching Andy Murray grimacing constantly improve my viewing experience and stop me wanting to slap some fun into the sour Scot?
Well overall yes it did, although my issues with Murray remain unresolved! Watching the final in the cinema gave me a different perspective on tennis. I suddenly gained an insight into the speed of the game, how hard they were hitting the ball and the ground they had to cover in order to do so. I really got a tangible sense of the dynamism of the sport that I had never really felt watching it on a 30” TV screen.
However this could be due to many things. The 3D camera was mounted lower giving what I believe to be a more cinematic, if less informative, view point. Instead of seeing the position of every shot you really got to feel every shot. This of course was no doubt aided by the sound system afforded by a seat in The Empire Leicester Square but even so the marriage of a more player oriented perspective and higher quality surround sound was invaluable.
The 3D on the other hand may have served a purpose in this or may have not. It was no doubt exceptionally delivered. Any accusations of it being Viewfinder-like were quickly put to pay by the textured crowd shots which showed hundreds of people each gradually further away from us than the last. Yes there are some hitches such as ball boys/girls heads appearing at the very front of the screen should they stand up straight but on the whole the coverage was fantastic.
The glasses I was given weren’t on a par with the content I was watching however. Whilst there may be some practical reason behind it the specs I was handed on entry had very thick and visible (whilst wearing them) rims that somewhat removed me from the otherwise immersive viewing experience. Also, due to the sparse nature of the court Viewfinder-ness did enter proceedings with the players often looking like cut-outs against a wondrously active crowd backdrop.
It seems clear that the technology has moved on and that in my eyes at least sport is a better application of the technology than films. However it still remains important that I found myself watching long periods of the game without my glasses on, popcorn in hand and having a good old time of it. The fact I could do this firstly shows that a lot of the time there isn’t much depth being shown (as otherwise it would be blurrier) and secondly that when it comes down to it the glasses were slightly unforgivable. Even so, it seems clear that Sony’s content delivery has come on leaps and bounds in relation to their competitors. Let’s just hope they find a more consistently suitable application for it someday.