NAB 2010 in Las Vegas was awash with tools for producing and broadcasting 3DTV this week as previously niche technology went mainstream.

Ahead of consumer stereoscopic 3D channel launches around the world from the likes of BSkyB and ESPN, the manufacturing fraternity was out in force showing new acquisition, workflow, post and playout technology.

And visitors were very keen to learn. According to test and measurement technology developer Hamlet, almost three quarters of attendees wanted to find out more about stereoscopic 3D production.

Its survey quizzed visitors over the first two days of the show and found that only 28% did not have 3D on their agenda.

Amongst the highest profile launches were integrated camcorders. Panasonic showed a working version of its new Full HD AG-3DA1 (pictured) while Sony pumped a concept prototype that has been co-developed with Discovery.

The un-named Sony shooter features 3-inch CMOS sensors per eye, interchangeable lenses, convergence control and full metadata support. Field tests are scheduled to start in July.

Alongside its 3D camcorder, Panasonic showed the BT-3DL2550, a 25” professional-quality 3D LCD monitor for field use, and the AG-HMX100, a professional HD digital AV mixer for live 3D event production.

At the same time, British manufacturer Snell announced that its entire product portfolio is 3D-ready and both Quantel and Harris showed complete 3DTV workflows from ingest to playout.

CineForm revealed that it is adding 3D capability to its NeoHD and Neo4K workflow products and launching a new version of Neo3D that includes ‘Ghost busting’ to minimize the high-contrast crosstalk between Left and Right channels visible on some 3D displays.

Cineform founder and chief executive David Taylor said: “With [this] explosive growth comes not only a heightened demand for new creative content, but also a steep requirement for effective, efficient and powerful 3D production workflow technology.”

Other 3D technology highlights included:

  • Silicon Imaging’s new portable SI-3D Minideck solid-state recorder that can simultaneously capture 12-bit RAW 2K or HD images from two SI-2K cameras, or from its SI-3D stereo camera.
  • The Canon SPB-10, a new separation box, that allows one zoom controller and one focus controller to simultaneously control a stereoscopic lens pair with high tracking precision.
  • Pixel Power’s software upgrade for stereoscopic 3D. This will be available for its Clarity, LogoVision and BrandMaster systems and will integrate with the existing 3D object creation and timeline editing tools provided as part of Clarity 3D.
  • S3D Beam Splitter Rig from S3D Technologies that provides a balance between stability, rigidity and weight and is suitable for film and digital cameras with lenses of up to 114 mm diameter and a 16 mm focal length.
  • The Densite 3DX-3901 from Miranda. This stereoscopic 3D video processor module converts a number of 3D formats, includes SENSIO 3D technology and offers visually loss-less compression-decompression technology for distribution of 3D content over existing 2D infrastructures. 
  • EVS’ demo of the 3D capabilities of its XT2+ production server for live 3D replays, editing and slow motion actions.
  • Aspera’s new ultra high-speed transport and storage offering with EMC. This development is capable of moving uncompressed HD video, digital cinema or 3D film files around the world in minutes using commodity hardware and the public Internet.
  • Screen Subtitling Systems’ fully compatible subtitling ‘solution’ for all potential 3D formats.
  • Orad’s single box Stereographics machine which renders 3D graphics in real-time and displays them over a stereo image for sports and weather content, election coverage and channel branding. With this system the user is given full control over the depth dimension of the graphics and the key stereo parameters.
  • The 3D:LIVE Fusion from Weather Central for providing stereoscopic 3D weather forecasts.
  • Autodesk’s 2011 versions of Flame, Flare, Smoke and Lustre that offer stereoscopic 3D finishing capabilities. Features include a new stereoscopic camera rig and object support in the Flame and Smoke 3D compositing environment Action; concurrent stereoscopic visual effects, editorial finishing and grading workflow; and stereoscopic monitoring and preview modes.

There were also plenty of innovations for 3D that doesn’t require glasses. This included monitors and production innovations such as Alioscopy’s plug-in that allows the creation of Alioscopy-ready 3D content using Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling, painting, animation and rendering software.

NAB 2010 took place at the Las Vegas Convention Centre 10-15 April 2010.