Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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RON KANTOWSKI:

Three cheers for football in 3-D

Technology hasn’t caught up to live sports, but it makes a boring game interesting

Image

Tiffany Brown

Matthew Stutzman, left, and Jeff and Teresa Sowers watch the BCS championship game in 3-D. The audience was told the special 3-D glasses work best worn upside down.

A couple of minutes after my eyes adjusted to the Drew Carey-ish 3-D glasses that were resting on my nose, a guy wearing a Florida sweatshirt and carrying a couple of beers appeared to step right out of the silver screen at the Rave Theaters at Town Square on Thursday night.

Click to enlarge photo

Strangely, the 3-D effect in this live game was most enhanced when the players were standing around, doing seemingly nothing, and worst when the action was moving fast.

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Wow! Great 3-D, I thought.

Then the guy sat down behind me.

Wisecracks aside, it actually was great 3-D, at least once the announcement was made to turn our 3-D glasses upside down to get the full effect. I’m not sure what went wrong, although my guess is that it had something to do with the polarity being reversed, or an alternator going out.

So we put our glasses on upside down just as Florida was running onto the field. And then a whole bunch of Gators appeared to run right past me, although they weren’t carrying beers and didn’t sit down behind me, because they were about 3,000 miles away in Miami, getting ready to knock heads with Oklahoma in the BCS championship game.

Then there were a bunch of oohs and ahs, like the kind you hear on Fireworks Night at Cashman Field.

“This is awesome,” I heard the guy in the Florida sweatshirt say as he and I and nearly a full theater of football fans and techie types prepared to watch the first live 3-D sporting event to be made available to the public.

I don’t know if producing TV sports in three dimensions is going to revolutionize the way we watch them. But after seeing the Gators and Sooners — not to mention a cheerleader’s pompom in the fourth quarter — seemingly fall into my lap, I will say this about the technology: It sure can make a dull football game appear a lot more interesting.

After halftime, the theater cleared out some. Apparently, the novelty of 3-D had worn off. Or maybe it was the novelty of a taut defensive struggle that sent football fans scurrying down the hall, to see whether they could sneak into “Marley and Me.”

Although there would be no fantastic finish, I’m glad I stayed until the end. For starters, I’m not much of a fan of that Owen Wilson guy. Plus, when they shot off the confetti cannons, the 3-D effect was spectacular.

Until Thursday night, my experience with 3-D pretty much was limited to a 1966 Batman comic book and last year’s U2 concert, which, I must confess, I enjoyed a little more than the football game, if for no other reason than the experience did not leave me with a minor headache, The Edge’s ringing guitar riffs notwithstanding. Sometimes when the action on the field and/or the cameras moved too fast, the screen turned into a bad-mushroom blur, or at least my idea of one.

But when one of the Gators was helped off the field and walked from the far side of it to the Florida bench on the near side, it appeared he was going to keep on going until he got to the concession stand.

This may sound weird, but the true spectacle of 3-D doesn’t emerge until the players are standing around and doing nothing, or next to nothing. Baseball would be awesome in 3-D.

So would construction crews.

And Congress.

Like many of the CES types wearing pocket protectors and sitting in the rows marked “Reserved” in the middle of the theater, I didn’t pay the $16 admission charge. At my age, I’m considered a low-definition guy living in a high-def world. I do not own a Blackberry or an iPod. Nor do I text people. And I prefer a map to a navigation system. But if you’re asking if I would fork over $16 to watch a football game in 3-D that I could watch for free in 2-D on my big screen at home, the answer is yes.

Unless, of course, I was driving across a lonely stretch of highway late at night and there was a baseball game on the radio.

Ron Kantowski can be reached at 259-4088 or at [email protected]

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