I also found the scarcity of on-screen graphics slightly off-putting. Yeah, they looked cool and futuristic when they popped off of the screen at you, but then they’d go away. There was nothing attached to the screen to tell you the score, the down or how much time was left in a quarter. I’m sure that’s a technical issue having to do with too many things happening on-screen at once, but it’s definitely something that needs to be fixed.
My biggest beef with the 3-D game, though, is that it was actually hard to follow the ball. Instant replays looked amazing because the action was slowed down. But, at regular speed everything went blurry and was difficult to make out. Whenever the ball was passed or kicked, it was anybody’s guess as to where it would end up.
In other words, this broadcast wasn’t really about the football at all. It was about the gimmick of 3-D. In fact, the only time I ever heard “oohs” and “aahs” out of the crowd was during TV timeouts. That’s when the 3-D audience was subjected to some random eye candy of a snowboarder spraying snow at the camera and a surfer barreling right towards us. Nice, but I came to see football and there was none of that same gee-whiz kind of excitement during game play. Wanna wow me? Strap a 3-D unit to the overhead cablecam and swoop in and out of the action like an IMAX nature doc nose-diving into the Grand Canyon.
Technical issues aside, I think the bigger problem has to do with the way people watch football. When the NFL eventually rolls this thing out across America, will we be allowed to tailgate in the cineplex parking lot? Will Buffalo wings and pulled-pork sandwiches be available at the concession stand? More importantly, will beer be served? The game I attended was a press event with a full bar, but when I asked if alcohol would be served at public events, the answer was, “We don’t know.” I don’t expect most movie theaters to go through the rigmarole of obtaining a liquor license, and what theater operator in his right mind would allow alcohol, anyway?
See, when we leave the home to watch football, it becomes less about the game and more about socializing. We want to eat, drink and be loud. We want to yell at the screen and yell at each other. Some of us want to paint parts of our bodies. But, while watching this game in 3-D, it was hard to escape the feeling of being “at the movies.” The room was dark and everyone was sitting eyes-forward like in a lecture hall. Yes, talking was certainly allowed, but doing your team’s chant or orchestrating a wave would have seemed out of place.
That said, I still really enjoyed myself, if only for the novelty of it all And, this was only the first try, remember. Who knows how the experience might be improved and the technology better implemented? If your neighborhood theater starts showing NFL games in 3-D next season, I recommend you go and check one out. You probably won’t make a regular habit of it, but you’re sure to see something you’ve never seen before. Sadly, mall parking lot keg stands aren’t likely to be one of them.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.