Winter X Games

January 28, 2012 by staff 

Winter X GamesWinter X Games, The two men toggle knobs and click keyboards, their eyes hidden behind awkward glasses as they stare at a bank of flickering screens.

“Whoa, little hot on 6!” one yells across the trailer to nine technicians wedged shoulder to shoulder, tweaking an endless stream of images from the Winter X Games venue.

“Sorry, sorry,” comes the response as the white-washed, 3-D image of a skier comes into clearer focus as he soars off a jump and — seemingly — into the trailer.

ESPN is splashing the spectacle of Winter X in 3-D this year, capturing the winter circus on 34 3-D cameras and eight robotic 3-D cameras, all united with 37 miles of fiber cable crisscrossing Buttermilk ski area.

“This is the biggest we’ve ever done,” said Paul DiPietro, coordinating director for ESPN, a leader in 3-D programming. Still, this Winter X — Sunday will be the network’s 204th event captured and broadcast using 3-D cameras — is the network’s first event using all 3-D cameras.

“We are starting at 8,000 feet, going up to 10,000 feet. In the middle of winter. On the side of a mountain,” DiPietro said. “We are not in a basketball arena at 72 degrees. It’s a huge, huge endeavor, but that’s what we love about X Games.”

3-D TVs haven’t lived up to the hype they generated when introduced in 2010, though sales are climbing. Industry experts expected 20 million to 25 million to sell last year, but the technology often is an add-on feature to existing models and many consumers haven’t yet adopted it.

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