As the most high-cost sport in the world, Formula 1 would be expected to have the best possible broadcasting innovations on its side with the funding that the motor racing series’ management has at its disposal, but it appears that it has been left to UK lead broadcasting partners Sky to take on the mantle of a surprisingly absent form of viewing the races, 3D.
F1’s managing company Formula One Management is in charge of the global feed for broadcasters to use, and having only reached HD-quality so far, the satellite broadcaster and 3D specialists could not try to air any official events in 3D on the channel in their first year of showing the sport due to contract clauses, instead limited to off-calendar unofficial meetings such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
However, an event which does not seem to be affected by these limitations is the annual pre-season testing days, which fall outside of all regular broadcast agreements for F1, and as such, a 4-day session in Barcelona (Spain) has been chosen by Sky as the place to trial their 3D coverage live ahead of the main races of 2013.
Because of Formula One Management’s reluctance to take on 3D viewing, Sky have claimed that while their filming between 28 February-3 March will be ground-breaking and a worldwide first, they cannot be certain that they can follow up on their efforts later in the year on either a live practice, qualifying, or race session.
Regardless, the coverage will see viewers interested in 3D or the motor racing able to tune into the ‘third test session’ of the year, live at the the Circuit de Catalunya, on the Sky 3D channel, along with live HD and SD footage filmed for the main Sky Sports F1 channels.
Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle noted of the developments: “This is a special moment for Formula 1 fans and exactly the kind of innovation and access that Sky Sports F1 promised. 3D will show us the real challenges of the race track with added depth and perspective. It will be a new, immersive experience for viewers and I can’t wait to see what F1 action in 3D will reveal.”
While termed as ‘one-off’, Sky 3D will be classing this broadcast as their 14th sport to receive the ‘3D treatment’, as Sky ‘director of 3D’ John Cassy added: “[3D has] proved a huge success with other sports, and now for the first time ever, 3D will bring TV viewers a new perspective on Formula 1. This cements our commitment to innovation and investment in 3D, and it’s the latest first by Sky following our recent work on Galapagos with Sir David Attenborough. As the leading 3D pioneer, Sky is delighted to be able to bring this entirely new experience to Sky 3D viewers and F1 fans.”OK, I’m I’m I’m
Sky Sports F1’s executive producer Martin Turner summarised: “We’re as excited as the next fan to see what Formula 1 will look like in 3D. It’s uncharted territory, but this is a big opportunity to experiment and innovate, and we’re grateful to Formula One Management for working with us on this. Sky is a world-leader in the field of 3D broadcasting, so in partnership with Formula 1 we’re in the best position to answer public appetite and take up the challenge of bringing live F1 in 3D for the first time.”