Recipe for More 3DTV Content: Small Cameras

As I’ve written here repeatedly, the biggest factor to slow 3DTV sales is the lack of content. The extra cost of the sets and the annoyance of the glasses would be ignored if there were compelling content available in significant quantity. But it costs a small fortune to convert existing 2D content to 3D, and it costs far to shoot original footage in 3D than in 2D. If you’re working on a theatrical movie project, you need expensive rigs that mount two complete cameras so that you get the highest possible quality in the images with the greatest amount of control.

But as we’ve learned repeatedly with technology, “good enough” often wins out over better. And the production equipment companies are coming up with “good enough” solutions that can result in lower-cost 3D content creation. For example, Panasonic came out with a single camera that has two lenses, which makes it much easier to capture stereoscopic images. According to an article in TV Technology, one producer has found that he can get the shots he needs for about the same money. The smaller camera means a smaller crew, and thus a smaller budget. According to the article, Panasonic has already sold hundreds of their cameras in the U.S. alone since they were introduced last year. And now Sony is expected to come out with a stereoscopic video camera of its own with a list price under $3,500. The lightweight, two-lens camera is expected to launch at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference next month.

I think we’re right on track to have plenty of 3DTV content within two or three years.