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AFL Grand Final – In 3D

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"My mission is to find the body that Mother Nature Intended, not what McNature provided"

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September 2010
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Earlier this year, I watched the Rugby League State Of Origin – Game 3 in 3D at the cinema.  You can read about that here.

For the first time, the AFL (Australian Football League) got in on the act and telecast the 2010 AFL Grand Final in 3D.  Yesterday’s game between the highly fancied Collingwood Magpies and last year’s Runners Up, the St Kilda Saints was attended by over 100,000 people at a sold out MCG but by millions across Australia and around the world.  It is the biggest day on the Australian sporting calendar and I wanted to experience it for the first time in 3D on the big screen.

As with the State of Origin match it was difficult to get use to the new angles.  As 3D images are gathered using different cameras to 2D, it meant that the usual angles you are use to when watching the standard 2D games are no longer available so it takes some time to get used to it.

While the images are sharp and in your face and 20 feet tall on the cinemas big screen, and while the surround sound makes it sound like you are actually at the stadium, there is something missing.

The commentators commentate not only by what they are seeing live, but they are also commentating on what they are seeing on their monitors, and their monitors are using the 2D feed, not the 3D feed.  So at times during the commentary they will be making mention of something which we just aren’t seeing.

With fewer cameras in the 3D broadcast we missed images all game of the coaches who add a lot of theatre to the game through their emotions when things don’t quite go right.  The throwing down of headphones, the curse words that any good lip reader can pick up, the angry faces getting redder and redder as the game progresses.  In the case of Collingwood and their famous president, Eddie Maguire who, from his seat in the stands, shows so much emotion when his team does not do well as was evidenced in the 2002 and 2003 Grand Finals when his team lost both years to the then mighty Brisbane Lions.  I missed these images in the 3D broadcast.

As this was Channel 7’s first 3D AFL broadcast the guys who control what we watch in the broadcast centre, ie the game day directors, are different as well.  You know the guy who says “switch to camera 1, now 3, go to camera 12, switch back to 3, now the coaches box camera……”  Well they are two different directors and therefore 2 different perspectives.  I also think that as 3D broadcasting is new in Australia and this was the first ever 3D broadcast of AFL, that the 3D director is not actually an Aussie who doesn’t understand the game.   I could be wrong on this one.

The atmosphere is good though.  It is great to watch the game on a massive screen with other people clapping and showing their respective support for their team.  Add in popcorn, chips and drinks and it rivals any Grand Final party at home which are held all across Australia.

So today I watched the replay which I had recorded in high definition on my 50” Panasonic Viera Plasma.  I saw the reactions from the coaches.  I saw Eddie Maguire blowing a gasket.   I heard the commentators comments match what was being shown on the screen.  I saw the game from a different angle.  I watched the game with far more cameras capturing a lot more images and emotions from the crowd.  I also saw that there were cameras at outside broadcast spots in and around Melbourne and it was great to see the fans who didn’t make it to the ground, enjoying the game in their thousands.

What makes AFL great is not just the game itself but the raw emotion that this great sport generates through its fans.  AFL in the southern states of Australia is a religion.  From March to September each year it is most peoples main talking point.  They worship the players and they can’t wait for each week when their team plays.  I live in northern Australia where AFL is popular but doesn’t have the same religious feel that it does in Victoria, and I get caught up in it each week when my beloved Brisbane Lions play.  I want to see the emotion from the crowds and while 3D has a little bit of this, it doesn’t show enough.  Although there was one exception.  During some of the 3D angles there was this one St Kilda supporter in the crowd who was wearing a red T-Shirt and he always seemed to react to the big St Kilda moments before the rest of the supporters near him.  He was good theatre!

For those who have been living under a rock and don’t know the result.  Well it was an epic game of Aussie Rules.  Collingwood started the game strong and by half time led the Saints by 24 points.  St Kilda came back in the second half and finally hit the lead with about 7 minutes remaining, leading by 5 points after a Brendon Goddard high flying mark and goal.  The final 7 minutes was an arm wrestle with both teams trying to gain an edge.   Collingwood fought back again to take a one point lead through a goal to Cloke and then with about 90 seconds remaining, St Kilda scored a crucial point to level up the scores.  The last 90 seconds seemed like a year and at the end of it and with the scores tied at 68 all the first draw since 1977 and only the third in VFL/AFL history meant that we would be back again next Saturday to try and crown the premiers. Draws in AFL are rare with only 2 or 3 a year at the most.

When the final siren sounded there was a feeling around the cinema and at the ground that there should be extra time.  There isn’t and we reset for next weekend.  There will be extra time next week should the game end up as a draw again.  I don’t think the nation could take another tied result especially considering our federal election also ended up as draw in August.

I’ll be watching this one from home.  In high definition 2D with the camera angles I am used to which in all honesty is still pretty good compared to the grainy black and white images from a few decades ago.  It works for me.

What did you think of the game?  Happy with a rematch next week or do you think extra time should have played?  Did anyone watch it in 3D?  What were your thoughts?

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2 Comments

  1. GGG says:

    So do you think they should have done OT or a new game??? I don’t understand why there wasn’t just OT in this game.

    • jackmcclane says:

      On the day I was all for overtime or perhaps golden goal. Now that a couple of days have passed, I am really getting excited about the rematch this Saturday and seeing a whole new game and contest.

      It should be thrilling.

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