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Is Sky F1 3D any good?

Sky TV has begun its first ever test broadcast of Formula One in 3D, and our buddies at Recombu Digital went along to the first live screening to get an eyeful. But is it any good?

Sky, and its tech partners, Telegenic, are capturing the event using 12 3D cameras. Eight of these are placed at strategic points around the circuit, three are used to cover the pits and one has the job of capturing static reports with presenters.

It’s certainly well-covered, so it should come as no surprise there are quite a few visually impressive moments. According to Recombu Digital’s Alex Lane, the best bits include a view down the start/finish straight, cars spinning out of control and pit stops, where the 3D provides extra depth to separate the busy pit crews from the cars.

It’s not all good news, though. Some of the shots apparently look a little flat. Shots from high up are shown in 2D because long distances flatten out 3D effects. Some of the ground level shots are equally disappointing, especially when the footage is of a single car cruising around with nobody else in sight (we expect these will have been shots of current F1 champ Sebastian Vettel).

On-board 3D shots were sorely missing from the test. Sky tech expert Chris John reassured us this type of footage is easy enough to capture by mounting small, portable Go Pro cameras onto the cars. However the teams have yet to 3D camera mounts that maintain aerodynamic efficiency.

Sadly for 3D fans, Sky’s dalliance with 3D in Formula 1 is a one off and there are no plans to show future F1 events in anything other than two dimensions.

Check out Recombu Digital’s full report here and watch Sky’s tech chief share his thoughts on 3D in Formula 1 in the video below.



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