On June 6, in the run-up to the Dutch elections, a happy few were able to follow the party leadership debate in their living rooms via 3D polarization, or shutter screens. The technical know-how for the broadcast, delivered through cable operator Ziggo’s network, was provided by United Broadcast Facilities.
In the political programme The Great Election Gala (Het Grote Verkiezingsgala), party leaders debated the issues of the day with each other and with the public. As well as the side-by-side 3D broadcast via Ziggo’s channel, Dutch broadcaster BNN and digital channel Politiek 24 sent out the programme in regular 2D. UBF provided the technical services for all parties involved and facilitated transmission of all the different signals.
During the broadcast, four of United’s 3D cameras recorded the debate for Ziggo. The live 3D signal was ‘uplinked’ to a Ziggo download facility and, from there, sent on to the Ziggo network. BNN received the left-hand signal from UBF’s four 3D cameras; these 3D cameras were complemented by five ordinary cameras that were used both for the live broadcast and to make the recordings for BNN and Politiek 24. After the live broadcast, the recordings made by all of the cameras were edited inside one of the equipment vans – the SNG was kept busy – and the edited programme for BNN was then directly ‘uplinked’ via the SNG from the location itself.
To make sure that the 3D broadcast went as smoothly as possible, UBF used different 3D Rigs, including a Switch Rig and an Element Technica Rig. Special video cards and other peripheral equipment were also employed. Collectively known as ‘glues’, these were sponsored by supplier Axon. To complete the programme, United Graphics supplied the recordings with appropriate graphics.
UBF deployed an OBV and an SNG for the recording. A second mixer was built in to the OBV, creating a second control room and allowing two different directors to take care of the broadcasts, each from a different room. The SNG made sure that the signal was delivered to the right destination. The 3D signal was also transmitted to a smaller room, next to the one holding the debate, where a select few could follow the debate on Sony 3D screens in a 3D VIP room. The whole operation went without a hitch, the VIPs referring to it as a ‘top-notch performance’!