3D in the round

“…and you don’t get Andy Gray as a commentator…”

The marketing bods at SKY are doing an alright job pushing their 3D television coverage of Premier League football, seeing as the technological limitations are still quite notable.

(Not least, I must say, the fact that the Guinness branded shaded glasses caused the 40 of us watching the single television screen look like we were hanging around for the first rehearsal of the “television scene” from Willy Wonka…)

The negative points first, then. Unless you’re one of those rabid anti-everything types, SKY are not to blame for the Manc derby being such an underwhelming match, notable only for the midfield keep-ball and plentiful Zamorian chances on goal. Well, okay, maybe in the broader sense they are, but that’s a topic for another day…Negative points, then, and I start with the general selling point of 3D broadcasting; that an entire ninety minutes of football can be viewed as though the sci-fi futurists of the 1960s have finally been proven right.

More often than not the effect did not work. Some people have suggested it may have something to do with my short-sight, or the difference in shape between the Guinness branded 3D specs and my own, so there’s a technological issue right there that could be more prohibitive than the developers imagined. I am not entirely convinced, however, for I cannot put my hands on acres of newsprint from similarly disadvantaged glasses wearers moaning about not getting the full Avatar experience, so until then, I reserve judgement…

Football has never suited single fixed-cameras (I’m looking at you, ITV FA Cup coverage directors). It became pretty obvious that swift and often camera movements took away some of the effect; for example just when I saw a group of players on the left wing float above the screen, an unconscious correction of my eye-line took the image away. The only very impressive effects came from fixed camera shots of corners and free kicks taken just outside the penalty area, with the goalposts and corner flags seemingly aiming themselves at pint-glasses and within door frames.

The positive conclusions come from all these decently received experiences – above all, the team sheets and team layouts, which floated above the screen looking more decent and convincing than just about anything else until the final whistle.

(No, I don’t mean that ruddy kiss…)

3D broadcasting has not made any great strides. More a few uncertain side-steps. It seems to currently be at its best with static and slow tracking shots. Any sudden and swift movement loses the magic (and how many times has that been a problem in my private life…)

To ensure 3D doesn’t go the way of Minidiscs and Sodastream, I would suggest more work be done to improve both static and swift motion camera movements. And with a the Leaders Debate coming up on Thursday, SKY have a great chance to try it out this week.

We’d all tune in to see Gordon Brown appear to float under our front room lights like a hanged banker….wouldn’t we ?

Celebration consideration…

Don’t tell James Murdoch, but if there’s one thing SKY does far better than the BBC – and indeed, one thing from which the BBC should be banned from broadcasting – is live football results services. We may have memories of the VidePrinter at the end of Grandstand, but if it ain’t Jeff Stelling it ain’t worth watching…

…Kind of. This Saturday just gone provided a rare slice of television gold when Mark Bright took on the wisdom of Garth Crooks. I wager “wisdom of Garth Crooks” has no results on Google.

The topic, but of course, was Emmanuel Adebayor and his passable impression of Usain Bolt which made up one component of the ex-Arsenal player’s contentious goal celebration. Traditionalists can put away their complaints that players these days should do nothing more than raise a hand before jogging back into position; those days probably never even existed. Over in Nottingham they’re waving corner flags in the faces of opposition supporters, why should we be surprised when Ade decides to slide Rooney-esque in front of four-score-and-plenty very vexed Gunners supporters with hand movements suggesting something to do with shaking coffee-beans. Or maybe javelin. Something needing a grip, anyway…

Over on the BBC, Garth Crooks – for whom everything is a matter of unshakable fact even when it clearly is not – decided that players were effectively being stopped from ever celebrating goals again by a shadowy panel of Health and Safety Suits, a kind of Sarah Palin style Death Panel for football. His eyes bulged, voice squeaked, hands gesticulated; “That’s it, that’s what you’re saying, players cannot celebrate any more…” It was like a radio phone-in with pictures, opinions to the wind even if facts were still being untethered. Brighty – for whom everything is a matter of principle – suggested Garth had better look at the screen, taking note of the shower of missiles and felled stewards. Garth did not. Principle is one thing, having an argument for the sake of it is quite another. Until placid Gabby Logan finally brought proceedings back round to something more important – her face hadn’t been on screen for a couple of minutes and that is against current BBC charter rules – the prospect of fists flying remained tantalisingly in the air. I suspect Mark Bright actually seethed through his teeth, it may still be there on iPlayer.

Adebayor was clearly going to score against his old club, for it is written in the great storybook of footballing stories that such narratives must occur for the sake of headline writers everywhere. His sprinting celebration was ill-considered. Some Arsenal fans throwing whatever they could into the head of a steward was downright idiotic. All things considered, mind you, one known slightly hyperactive player being a cocky so-and-so in front of his former fans should not equal punitive sentencing from the FA. His treating von Persie like a balloon at a party, now that’s something.

If there was one celebration worth sentencing it was at the Britannia stadium (http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/7880/fayefullercelebration.gif). Let the FA ban Ade for his attempt to bring eye-gauging to the football field. I don’t fully fall behind Crook’s libertarian attitude. If the goal deserves it let there be all the choreographed fervor one can muster. FIFA want them curtailed, after all, which surely is the best reason to ensure every match has them even when games end 0-0.

Except that Stoke celebration. That one kills football. And don’t tell James Murdoch anything about the BBC, he probably won’t believe you…