BBC looking at VOD for 3D content

BBC - considering what to do with 3D Wimbledon
BBC - considering what to do with 3D Wimbledon

Danielle Nagler, head of HD and 3D at the BBC, has revealed that if the BBC was to do anything with 3D in the long term then it would be through its VOD service, rather than releasing content on one of its linear channels.

Speaking at the 3DTV World Forum, with TechRadar in attendance, Nagler was level headed when it came to the future of 3D, explaining that the BBC's current vested interest in HD would have to take precedent.

"There are millions of UK homes that have access to HD but fewer than 200,000 homes that have 3D. So we have to really think about using a HD channel to show 3D content," said Nagler.

"To me 3D feels more instinctively like a VOD proposition in the log term, rather than a channel proposition for the BBC.

"We have to see if 3D is a niche or mass appeal. It is difficult to research the early adopters of 3D in the home and make conclusions from this about what the mainstream will think about 3D."

3D trials

Currently the BBC is filming a number of projects in 3D, but these seem to be more for trial than actual release. One of the most notable was the filming of Strictly Come Dancing in 3D.

Although Nagler said that the three-minute Strictly showcase is now seen as "one of the most polished 3D shoots ever done in a studio" she did say that they learned a lot from mistakes made on the shoot.

"Our Strictly experience allowed us to face the challenges of shooting in 2D and 3D. The slice of Strictly produced in 3D was slipped into what was already a busy production environment.

"It was important to us that the look and feel of the show was shown off in 3D. So our regular Strictly director worked closely with 3D experts. We had 45 minutes to shoot the dance, with three days to edit it – one day for each minute we produced.

"In an ideal world you would optimise choreography and costumes for 3D, but we found you could shoot good 3D within what is a 2D setup."

Wimbledon in 3D

While Nagler doesn't believe that 3D should be used for everything – when talking of the recent Royal Wedding, she doubted 3D would have enhanced the coverage – the BBC is using 3D for Wimbledon.

Quite where we will see this footage is unknown but Nagler is promising more details imminently.

"The BBC has a very long standing relationship with Wimbledon, and we have tried out many innovations at this event – it was one of the first things shot in colour.

"We have been involved in the relationship between Sony and Wimbledon and do have the UK television rights for Wimbledon.

"We are planning what to do with the 3D rights and will be revealing details on this soon."

As for the future of the BBC and 3D, Nagler is still cautious.

"To understand 3D, we need to see if it can truly enhance television," she said.

"We don't know this yet and we need to learn this, learn what audiences take from a 2D and a 3D experience.

"It may be beneficial, but it may well be a gimmick and we need to work together to figure this out."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.