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## NFL's First Broadcast In 3-D, Still Has Work To Do178

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
darkwing_bmf writes "The NFL broadcast a live game to theaters in 3-D for the first time on Thursday night. The technology demonstration was mostly successful but they still have some issues to work out. 'Some scenes clearly captured the benefits of 3-D broadcasts, however, such as an interception by Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper as players crisscrossed the field, and a long touchdown catch by San Diego's Vincent Jackson with the arc of the ball caught on camera all the way. Viewers were encouraged to text in their reaction to the viewing. One of the first comments, according to the commentators: "More cheerleaders."'"
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## NFL's First Broadcast In 3-D, Still Has Work To Do

• #### Polarization (Score:2, Insightful)

Can somebody explain what polarization is, and how some materials can block certain "orientations" of polarization?
• #### Re: (Score:2, Funny)

Sure, I can explain polarization this way:

See the post by fynqyrz http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1052969&cid=26008363 [slashdot.org]
entitled Sure! up above. It's the first post can not miss it.

That is polarization and fynqyrz is the material doing the polarizing.

Science is fun.

• #### Re:Polarization (Score:5, Informative)

on Friday December 05, 2008 @07:17PM (#26008777)
I see what you did there.

Anyway, to answer the the OPs question here's a simplified example (real physicists, don't hate on me, I'm not going to get into the gory details here).

First, lets think of a wave in the water. It's traveling in one direction (towards the shore) and vibrating in another (up and down from the plane of the water). Light is the same. It travels in one direction (from the theatre screen to your eye), but it can vibrate in two directions: up and down, or left and right (and technically any combination of that like diagonal and such). This is called the polarization: vertical or horizontal.

So what these 3D theaters do is have a special theater screen that preserves polarization (most just randomize it) and they have one image for one eye sent out in vertical polarization and the other sent out in horizontal polarization. Then by using special glasses they can show only one polarization to each eye.

Think of polarized glasses as having little bars in them, if they're aligned up and down only vertical light can squeeze through the bars, the horizontal gets stuck. Likewise the bars can go horizontally and the vertical light gets stuck.

Actually it's the other way, but that's more complicated. If the bars (i.e. molecules aligned such that they conduct electricity) are vertical, the vertical polarized light resonates with the bars and gets dissipated and the horizontal makes it through. But that's just technical matters.

This is also why polarized sun glasses are great for boating and driving. Since most of the time you're looking out at a big horizontal reflector (the water or your car hood or the road), most of the light that's reflected (glare) is horizontally polarized (I won't go into the details why), so the polarized sunglasses are set up to filter out horizontally polarized light which removes glare and you only get the vertical light which is just about everything else.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Actually it's the other way, but that's more complicated. If the bars (i.e. molecules aligned such that they conduct electricity) are vertical, the vertical polarized light resonates with the bars and gets dissipated and the horizontal makes it through. But that's just technical matters.

THIS is *exactly* the sort of specific answer I was looking for. Thanks so much... it's not quite spelled out that plainly on Wikipedia.

Now, another question that wasn't quite answered below yet: I've long understood that polarization is changing the orientation of the propagating wave, but exactly how does this work for light? As far as I'm aware, light doesn't take a zig-zaggy, wavy motion through space, so how is it analogous to sending waves down a jump rope or similar? (I have a feeling the problem

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Replying to myself... I could be wrong, but from what I read on replies below and on Wikipedia, it seems that the orientation isn't a spatial movement like waves on a jump rope moving up and down, but rather an intrinsic, non-classical property like spin. At least, that's what I gather. ;)
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Light itself doesn't make a zig-zaggy motion, but the electric and magnetic waves oscillate in a zig-zaggy way. Light is nothing more than an oscillating electric (and magnetic) wave. Probably have to go to wikipeida for a good picture

Going back to the wave on a string example. If two people hold the string and one shakes it. The string itself will oscillate but the energy associated with that motion travels straight to the other person. It'
• #### Re: (Score:2)

I had a read around on wikipedia to refresh my memory. As I understand it you have two fields in space: electric and magnetic. Electromagnetic waves (like light) are waves in both of those fields, but if a wave is vertical in the magnetic field it is horizontal in the electric field.

The rope example I have above is a bit like a (force) field because it transmits force. So maybe the magnetic field in a bit like the rope in that way.

Getting in too deep here. Is there a physicist in the house? I know someb
• #### Re: (Score:2)

The grandparent is correct. The magnetic field doesn't play a part in the polarization. The vertical electric waves get absorbed by the vertical polarizer and the horizontal do not. (As the GP does I'm not going into detail about the absorption.) To spell it out explicitly it's not the slit that does the filtering.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

As I understand it:
Electromagnetic radiation is longitudinal vibration (waves) of an electric field line. (One could view it it vibrations of a magnetic field line too, but that view is not common.)

Now since light travels in a straight line, so the vibrations are not in that dimension. However, there are two other dimensions. If you are looking straight down the path of a beam of light there are two dimensions along with the field line vibrations could occur, namely up-down and left-right.

Those two componen

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Now, another question that wasn't quite answered below yet: I've long understood that polarization is changing the orientation of the propagating wave, but exactly how does this work for light? As far as I'm aware, light doesn't take a zig-zaggy, wavy motion through space, so how is it analogous to sending waves down a jump rope or similar? (I have a feeling the problem I have in understanding this issue has to do with the preceding sentence.) Thanks in advance, and thanks to all the people below this author who have also responded.

Light is a wave in the electromagnetic field. Along different points in space the electric field and magnetic fields have different directions and magnitude. Plotting these magnitude and direction of the electric and magnetic fields would give you wavy shapes.

• #### Re:Polarization (Score:5, Informative)

on Friday December 05, 2008 @07:02PM (#26008631) Homepage Journal
Imagine that two people hold on to opposite ends of a rope. One moves the rope to send waves down the rope to the other end. That person could shake the rope horizontally to generate horizontally polarised waves, or vertically to generate vertically polarised waves.

If you pass the rope through a slot in a wall the slot will only allow waves which align with the slot. That is how polaroid sun glasses work. They literally have slots in them aligned a certain way.

You can use polarisation to split two signals from a single stream of photons. Horizontal in the left eye, vertical in the right eye for example.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

And the key to fully understanding this is to understand that two of these waves at right angles to each other don't interfere with each other in any significant way (unlike two ropes would).

To understand this concept, place a red ball in the center of the rope and fasten it in place. View the rope from the end. You can watch the ball move up and down. This shows how the wave as perceived from a single point in space can be seen as effectively a change in position vertically rather than as something movi

• #### Re: (Score:2)

"unlike two ropes would"

False.

If the detector at the other end of the rope has a very high impedance (doesn't allow the end to move for a changing force) then it will detect the vertical and horizontal wave components with fidelity as forces. The two components can then be decoded.

If the detector is in a moving portion of the rope, it will have to have a very low impedance (allowing full motion without applying any force to the rope itself). It can detect the motion as displacement and decode it into vert

• #### Re: (Score:2)

*scratches head* I think you must have misunderstood what I said unless the laws of physics changed so that two ropes can exist in the same place at the same time.... My aside was to point out that you have to think of it as a single rope moving in two directions because waves behave decidedly different than two separate ropes in roughly the same physical space would. Unless you could synchronize the timing of the waves in such a way that neither rope would ever have to move past the other rope, they'll

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I think he was explaining that you can have two-component horizontal+vertical signals from a single rope. The wave can have a diagonal displacement carrying both signals.

The stuff you explained was correct as far as I recall, and the stuff he explained was correct as far as I recall. Whether he was correct or not in saying you were "wrong"... I think that is mostly a communication issue and I offer no particular input on who was unclear in their speech or in their understanding.

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• #### Re: (Score:2)

Given that the entire remainder of my post after that aside was explaining that you could have a horizontal and vertical component of a single rope, I'm baffled. :-)

• #### Re: (Score:2)

The electric field and magnetic field that make up what we call "light" have both a magnitude and direction. This is independent (somewhat) of the direction of travel.

If you imagine a dipole flying through space, in the area around it for instance, the magnetic field at each point has a magnitude and direction, and the whole thing has a direction of travel. This not light, but I hope you can visualize that the direction of an electric property is *not* the same as the direction of travel EM radiation.

Now,

• #### Re: (Score:2)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarization [wikipedia.org]

Light travels as waves (and particles -- but let's ignore that for now). Imagine waves on an ocean coming into the shore. A polarizer is like a bunch of thin wooden boards stacked on top of each other, but with space inbetween each layer. If you place this polarizer so that the boards are standing on end, then the waves will pass through the slats between the boards and come out of the other side mostly intact. However, if you lay the polarizer down so that the board

• #### Next: cameras in helmets! (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday December 05, 2008 @06:51PM (#26008517)

Now all we need are cameras in the players' helmets and then we can all feel like we're really part of the game. Which might not be such a good thing when you see a 300-lb lineman with a full head of steam barreling towards "you". Might make for sloppy beer management...

• #### Re: (Score:2, Informative)

Isn't this what the XFL tried? Cameras in huddles, helmets, locker rooms, microphones everywhere, etc.
• #### Re:Next: cameras in helmets! (Score:5, Funny)

on Friday December 05, 2008 @07:11PM (#26008723)

Ah, the XFL, the bastard love child of the NFL and WWE... It was mildly entertaining for about two weeks -- which come to think about it, is about how long the XFL actually lasted.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

The XFL had zillions of gimmicks. The failure of the league doesn't discredit all of them. I do think you'd need a fisheye lens with heavy-duty image stabilization to allow extracting a reasonably steady video stream in a range of camera angles though.
• #### Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

The XFL had zillions of gimmicks. The failure of the league doesn't discredit all of them.

The XFL gave us the "over the field" camera on cables. Which, combined with HD, represents a huge leap in field coverage.

• #### Re:Next: cameras in other places . . . (Score:2)

For better coverage of the snap, how about live footage from the center's cup-cam?

But seriously, too many cameras on the field, would mean that too many folks would see too much nastiness.

It might lead to too many post-games disputes . . . or worse, to, um, serious altercations between supposing fans after a very nasty hit.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I actually think they'll eventually get to a point where you have enough cameras on the field that you can take anything that happened during the game and get a composite view of it from any angle you could possibly want.

• #### Next: A use for broadband.! (Score:2)

"Now all we need are cameras in the players' helmets and then we can all feel like we're really part of the game"

We already have 3D sports. It's called multiplayer in most games. Throw in real-time motion capture and you've just saved yourself several million in not building a stadium.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

The problem with helmet mounted cameras is they only face in one direction. How often are your eyes actually fixated forward in any sport? I can't say for certain as I've never taken the time to study it, but from personal experience it seems like when I'm playing sports, my eyes fixate on something first then the head follows. Or if I'm scanning side to side, my head is also moving but my eyes are also moving back and forth. The other problem is image stabilization. Someone else mentioned it in this t
• #### But everything goes better with 3-D! (Score:3, Funny)

<slashdot@davidge ... k ['rd.' in gap]> on Friday December 05, 2008 @07:06PM (#26008683) Homepage

VARIETY, Lack Of - Steven Soderbergh's new musical version of Cleopatra - in 3-D! [today.com] - proves an incredible box-office same-old same-old. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as the fishnet-clad vaudeville jazz empress and Hugh Jackman as the mutant self-healing Roman general - in 3-D! - the film carries the Ocean's Eleven franchise somewhere beyond its ultimate extent.

"I've always wanted to do a musical," Soderbergh said. "All the ones that were coming along just weren't for me. This one, however, involved dumptrucks full of money backed up to my house."

Soderbergh pooh-poohed suggestions that the film would be some sort of low-rent exploitation quickie that would insult the intelligence of any creature smarter than a flatworm. "I can assure you this will be the most artistically satisfying creation in my entire career as a director," he said, lighting a cigar off a hundred-dollar bill before laying back on a great big bed made of money.

"DUMPTRUCKS!" Soderbergh emphasised. "FULL OF MONEY! BACKED UP TO MY HOUSE!"

• #### Understatement (Score:2)

"still has work to do"
They have a LONG way to go... first step is finding better teams than the Chargers and the Raiders.

Oh yeah, and I second the motion for more cheerleaders... in motion!

• #### Ill advised dissolve? (Score:2)

Explain what the refocus/dissolve stuff and pulling off the polarized lenses was. Tech explanation please.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Quick Explanation:

It causes visual dissonance if done poorly.

Technical Explanation:

Stereoscopic imaging is an attempt to recreate the world from the perspective of a person looking upon it. To do so, it must present to both eyes at all times a pattern of light the same as those eyes would see if placed in the "world" that the scene is portraying.

The human eye/brain combination rejects any scene presented to it that is not:

1. Aligned vertically
2. Has excessive horizontal variation
3. Contains parts of images

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Explain what the refocus/dissolve stuff and pulling off the polarized lenses was. Tech explanation please.

A "dissolve" is a type of transition between different shots. It's when the image from the first shot blends smoothly into the second. It works fine in 2D, but in 3D it creates a very confusing and uncomfortable sensation. The "polarized lenses" refers to the 3D glasses that the people in the theater were wearing. Other comments in this article explain that part already, so I won't here. The article
• #### I can't see 3D anyway (Score:3, Informative)

on Friday December 05, 2008 @08:41PM (#26009473) Homepage Journal

My eyes look in slightly different directions, so I've never had depth perception. Can't catch a ball, can't do melee combat effectively. I'm told I have a disadvantage only from about six feet away on in, but that's probably far enough out that a 3D TV would be useless at best, and probably an annoyance from seeing double.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

can't do melee? you will make a terrible zergling.
• #### Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

In related news, people with one deaf ear can't hear in stereo anyway.

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• #### Re: (Score:2)

Said people won't be annoyed by the stereo sound being slightly out of phase.

Force has no place where there is need of skill. -- Herodotus

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