News 12 at 6 o'clock, April 9, 2010
AUGUSTA---For all the talk about tradition, the folks out at Augusta National are quick to embrace the latest technology. They were the first to bring us live golf coverage in high definition. This year, they're pushing that coverage into 3D.
I was among the first people out at the National to get to sample 3D. I slipped on those glasses, and the first thing I remember saying was, "It works!"
We must have looked strange wearing what looked like sunglasses and watching golf, but we were actually among the few people who got to experience the first national sporting event covered live in 3D.
"A lot of wows," said Arturo Jordan of Sony, who got to watch us as we saw it for the first time. "And 'Wow, this is great', you know, 'phenomenal', 'amazing'...very, very positive reactions."
You already know television is a great way to watch golf, especially in high definition. But there's never been a good way to really show the rolling hills of Augusta...until now.
"Yeah, we were surprised ourselves, because this is the first time we're seeing golf in 3D," Jordan said.
You'll actually need a couple of things to see it yourself: first a TV that receives 3D signals, and then special battery-powered glasses that get the signal from the set.
Sony actually has about a dozen 3D cameras in Augusta to cover the Masters. When you see one, you'll recognize the difference right away: they're big and bulky and they have two lenses. We found two of them on the 18th green.
They've been learning as they go this week, figuring out which shots give you the best 3D effect. Ground-level shots where you can see the foreground, the players in the middle, and then the background are especially nice.
Augusta National chairman Billy Payne is a believer.
"I was honestly overwhelmed by the manner in which it captures our beauty and our topography," he said. "I cannot imagine a better venue exists anywhere in the world for the introduction of three-dimensional broadcasting, and I hope by the end of the week you all agree."
They're even offering 3D coverage online, but you'll need a special computer and the glasses to see it.
One of our news producers said the 3D coverage is "just like being there...with air conditioning."
I can't see us watching a lot of television this way--maybe special events like the Masters. But the price is going to have to come way down.