Presenting NFL in 3–D

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2008

People in Boston, Los Angeles and New York City will experience sports in a whole new way Thursday night thanks in part to Alabaster’s Crosscreek Productions.

When the Oakland Raiders take the field to take on the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, Crosscreek’s Voyager 8 production truck will be there as the National Football League attempts to broadcast a game in 3–D.

Voyager 8 features three Sony BVM-L230 LCD reference monitors, 19 high–definition camera systems including 12 HDC–1500 models, one HDC–3300 super motion system and six CX310K POV cameras.

And for those of you who aren’t up-to-date on your technological jargon, that’s a lot of state-of-the-art high-definition production equipment.

As part of Alliance Productions, a conglomerate of 14 smaller production companies around the county, Crosscreek was approached about participating in the 3-D game because Voyager 8 was a perfect fit.

During the game’s broadcast on the NFL Network, three camera rigs will be used, in addition to eight camera positions with two cameras at each position. There will be three cameras on the field, low end zone and high end zone, the announcer booth and two wide-angle views.

The images will be transmitted from Voyager 8 to a Technicolor facility in Burbank, Calif., and then to theaters in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. RealD 3D out of Beverly Hills, Calif. will oversee the transmission, including projectors.

Spruce McRee, president and CEO of Crosscreek, said other sports leagues like the National Basketball Association have tested the 3-D system before and the response was incredible.

“It’s a test–type deal to see how it works and how it is received,” McRee said.

The opportunity to participate in a project like this is something that has really excited McRee.

“We’re thrilled to death,” McRee said. “It’s huge, especially for a small outfit in Alabaster, Ala.”

Although viewers in the three theater markets should be in for a treat come Thursday, viewers at home will have to wait for the technology to make it to the small screen.

“I think this technology is at least 10 years down the road. People are just now coming around to HD TVs,” McRee said. “It’s going to be very expensive to broadcast that way too.”

Crosscreek is no stranger to broadcasting sports as the company already produces National Hot Rod Association races on ESPN and football and basketball games on CBS.

The company also has a contract with SPEED Network to broadcast American Motorcycle Association races, including all held at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds. Crosscreek just reached a deal to begin broadcasting Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in HD.

But the gem for McRee is Crosscreek will begin broadcasting the 11:30 a.m. SEC college football games next season as ESPN reached a multi-billion dollar deal to replace Raycom Sports.

“We’re going to get a good chunk of that contract,” McRee said. “I’ve been chasing that for the longest time.”