Florida State University
Seminole Productions, the video production unit of Florida State University's Department of Communication, purchased a Panasonic's new AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D camcorder, which it has implemented in the groundbreaking application of shooting 3D recruitment video and coaching analysis footage for the current Seminoles' football season.
Seminole Productions has been a quiet pioneer in 3D sports production, having shot 3D highlight videos for recruits and alums for the past five years. Executive Director Mark Rodin explained that, prior to buying the 3DA1, he had been using parallel rigs equipped with HDV camcorders. "It wasn't an easy rig in terms of setting alignment and convergence," Rodin said, "and post was taking way too much time. But along the way, the football coaches began to see the value of 3D for video analysis. They liked the spatial axis, the potential to see better to evaluate players' techniques and drills."
Rodin worked with a pre-production model of the 3DA1 during football training. "We had the camera hooked up to Panasonic's BT-3DL2550 3D monitor, and the coaches could see the benefits instantaneously. And I immediately realized tremendous time-savings in post. I started out working with Adobe After Effects and Final Cut Pro to do convergence and alignment, and my experience was that I could put clips in the timeline and know that everything was mostly comfortable. And what convergence needed to be set predominantly had to do with our learning curve with the camcorder."
Rodin said he has since invested in CineForm Neo3D to support a real-time 3D editing workflow.
Seminole Productions purchased the 3DA1 as soon as it became available and has used it to shoot highlights and coaching video at all football games. 3D analysis video is being integrated into an existing 2D infrastructure. "I envision a full-scale changeover to 3D for coaches' evaluation, but the sports software still has to catch up with the acquisition hardware," Rodin noted.
"Working with the 3DA1 has been, in a word, fantastic," he said. "The experience is far superior to the parallel rigs, the operation is virtually flawless and the picture is stunning. We all just can't stop watching the 3D video: it's like looking through a window at an actual game."
"The rigs were very difficult and time-consuming," Rodin added. "I love the fact that you can zoom with the 3DA1, for instance. If you try zooming in a parallel rig without real synced lenses you have to key frame every second to get alignment correct."
Seminoles' head coach Jimbo Fisher is the lead cheerleader among the ten football coaches for 3D analysis. "Coach Fisher says the players' arm rotation and foot movement are seen so much better in 3D," Rodin said. "As the season progresses, we've been trying different positions and developing 3D shooting styles (capturing drills down low, for example) to improve the coaches' viewing experience."
Beyond football, Rodin said that the Seminoles' men's and women's basketball and soccer coaches have expressed an interest in working with the 3DA1.
Seminole Productions is a longtime customer of Panasonic camcorders, and for the past several years has utilized P2 HD camcorders to shoot features for sports television shows that air on Fox Sports Net/Sun Sports, including Seminole Sports Magazine, a weekly university sports highlights show that reaches over two million households in Florida.
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