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Alfacam serves up Roland Garros 3D

Alfacam is working with Eurosport and Panasonic to serve up live coverage of Centre Court tennis in 3D at the French Open. It will also see the first use of Panasonic’s new AG-3DP1, twin-lens P2 shoulder-mount camcorder.

Belgian outside broadcast giant Alfacam is working with Eurosport, Panasonic and Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) to serve up live broadcasts of all matches from the Centre Court in 3D at the French Open to European homes, writes Adrian Pennington. Panasonic’s new AG-3DP1, a 3D twin-lens P2 shoulder-mount camcorder will get its first workout too.

For the second successive year Eurosport has teamed with Panasonic to shoot matches from the French Open tennis at Roland Garros in 3D, from May 22 to June 5.

The broadcaster has partnered with Panasonic and FFT to transmit live broadcasts of all matches from the Centre Court in 3D to homes across Europe – but not in France where Orange holds broadcast rights. Swisscom in Switzerland and Canal Digital operating in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, Cyfra+, and Virgin Media are confirmed carries of Eurosport’s 3D signal. For Virgin Media viewers it will be the first time that live 3D tennis will be available in the UK. It will also be available via its on demand service.

While CAN Communicate, last year’s 3D facility partner at the tournament has its hands full with Wimbledon 3D, Alfacam will site two mirror rigs and two side-by-side rigs on Centre Court.

The rigs will be equipped with LDK 8000 cameras from Grass Valley, plus Canon lenses.

“In addition to the rigs we will also use two all-in-one 3D cameras from Panasonic: the new AG-3DP1; and the AG-3DA1,” said Markus Nägele, IT Integration Product Manager, Panasonic. “For the shooting, acquisition and production part, we are not going to use a 2D to 3D conversion software. We will work with native signals.”

Vincent Gerard-Hirne, Chief Technical Officer, Eurosport said: “3D set-top penetration in Europe has exploded recently and we have already signed deals with some of the most important distributors in Europe, so we are confident that the 3D audience will be very good.”

Unlike last year there will be no distribution to cinemas, although there will to retail stores stocking Panasonic’s Viera 3D range. The satellite partners are Astra and Eutelsat.

Laurent Abadie, Chairman and CEO, Panasonic Europe (pictured) said in statement: “In the past year a wide range of 3D technology has become available; an increasing amount of content has been created; and new broadcast 3D channels have been launched – it is clear that 2011 is the year this revolutionary technology will become mainstream.”

Michel Grach, Media and Sponsorship Director, Fédération Française de Tennis added: “We are committed to constant innovation to make sure tennis fans can get the closest experience possible to actually being here in Paris. From the extremely positive feedback about the 3D broadcast into retail stores last year, it is clear that 3D technology truly recreates the immersive experience of being court-side, on the television set.”