The firm behind 3D rugby coverage has advised producers to factor in strategically-placed cameras and longer preparation times.

England’s opening Six Nations game earlier this month was hailed as the biggest live sporting event to use stereoscopic technology in the UK so far.

Both productions are being coordinated by specialist 3D firm Inition, which has already been involved in several landmark 3D broadcasts including Sky’s 3D edition of Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year Old and Keane: Live From Abbey Road.

BVE caught up with Inition, which will be demonstrating its services at Apple’s stand on Thursday, and asked event producer and director Andy Millns what advice he would give to producers looking to cover events in 3D.

1. Negotiate extra cameras

According to Millns the key to covering events in 3D is being able to negotiate extra cameras and then ensure those cameras are set up in optimal positions. “It can be tricky to get any extra cameras at big events like the Six Nations, as there are lots there already. You can probably get away with fewer cameras than a 2D event, but getting the right position is crucial.”

2. Position them carefully

Cameras need to be close to the action at either end of the pitch, with a few in ‘storytelling positions’ concentrating on the framing. “For the Six Nations we used an integrated two-lens stereoscopic radio camera on a Steadicam, roaming up and down the sidelines and managed to capture some good kicks this way,” adds Millns.

3. Think pitchside

Ideally Millns would have liked more pitch-side cameras, close to the action, but he adds in the UK these tend to block the crowd’s view. “This is where it’s easier to shoot 3D in the US where the sports stadiums tend to be set much further away from the pitch,” he says.

4. Image processors can give 2D shots a 3D ‘feel’

Cameras used for close ups and personality shots which use long zoom lenses are not always suited for 3D. “For these shots we used a 2D camera running through a JVC 3D Image Processor which was able to take the 2D picture and giving it a 3D ‘feel’ so that sat better in the edit and didn’t jar with 3D footage,” explains Milns.

5.  Factor in extra preparation time

Remember to factor in extra preparation time during the set up for a big match. Inition spent at lot of time in SIS Live’s OB unit matching up lenses and rebuilding 3D cameras for use in a live sports environment. Millns explains: “Because OBs don’t have all the 3D kit needed you have to hire it in from both the film and the broadcast worlds. At SIS we spent a lot of time rebuilding 3D gear for event coverage, matching lenses and then rebuilding it all in the stadium,” he says.