Arsenal v Man Utd 3D: The details

Sky 3D - public launch
Sky 3D - public launch coming

TechRadar can bring you some of the details behind the first-ever live 3D screening of a sporting event for a live audience, with nine pubs in UK and Ireland getting the chance to watch Manchester United visit the Emirates to take on Arsenal in the Premiership.

The broadcaster has selected pubs in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin to be kitted out with 3D TVs from LG and take advantage of the special broadcast, a precursor to hundreds of venues getting the technology in April at the formal launch of the Sky 3D channel.

To make the 3D preview a reality, Sky Sports will produce two edits of its live coverage of Sunday's game at the Emirates Stadium, one for its HD channel feed and another dedicated to 3D, explains Sky.

A 3d camera

Eight rigs, 16 cameras

"Eight specially engineered 3D camera rigs will house 16 of Sky's high-definition cameras, to provide comprehensive stereoscopic coverage from all angles," revealed Sky

"The 3D broadcast will be supported by Sky's dedicated 3D production team and purpose built 3D outside broadcast truck, which will enable live mixing between camera positions, slow motion replays and the use of innovative 3D graphics.

"There will also be a dedicated commentary team to support the 3D edit."

Sky has become increasingly experienced in filming sport in 3D in the past 18 months, and the strides that have been taken were most clear at the Master Tennis at the O2 last year, where it was clear that lessons had been learned for what can be a very different method of capturing the action.

So what technologies will Sky be using to bring us Premier League footy in 3D?

The cameras that are used are, essentially, two traditional HD cameras strapped together with special kit that enables a team of 'stereographers' to choose a focal point.

Sky 3d camera

The cameras were adapted from 3D movie cameras which were built for a more controlled environment and were not robust enough for the rigours (and changing temperatures) of live sport.

Just like any other outside broadcast (OB) the footage is streamed to an OB van, where a director can choose which camera angle to go with or when to cut to a replay.

Sky ob van for 3d

In a 3D OB van, there are also a team of stereographers who make sure that the camera are focused on the most important action, to make sure that the viewer can get the right sense of depth.

Stereographers in the ob van

It's a complicated process, but it's looking increasingly like 3D is here to stay this time. And Sky is hoping that its premium sport will be just the ticket to bringing the technology into the living room.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.