3DFocus.co.uk can exclusively reveal that QVC UK has been trialling 3D broadcasting. QVC has produced an internal 3D test tape which included sections of its presenters selling kitchen products, jewellery and fashion items in front of a stereo 3D rig.
Ravensbourne University College was employed to supply the production skills and equipment at the Marco Polo House QVC studios and edited a 3D showreel for the UK’s most established shopping network. The famous QVC ‘L’ graphic was positioned considerably in front of the screen plane (negative parallax) with the sale’s demos taking place behind the screen plane.
QVC has earned a reputation for innovation since it was launched in the UK back in 1993. The channel converted to widescreen, launched QVC Active – a red button multi-screen service, and an iphone app. QVC 3D is purely an experiment right now and there is no certainty that it would ever materialise into a channel or VOD block. QVC is still waiting for the extra bandwidth to become available after the digital switch over in 2012 when it is likely to launch QVC HD according to – Richard Burrell, director of media operations, QVC UK.
3D is usually the preserve of movies, sport, performance programming and increasingly documentaries. However, other genres have been considered for the 3D treatment including cookery, reality and even current affairs programming. High TV is a 24/7 3D channel which broadcasts a full range of programmes across multiple genres that are traditionally watched ‘in the background’ whilst checking emails or doing the ironing.
Home shopping in 3D might not sound plausible but it makes sense to trial the format. QVC has one aim – to sell, not to entertain although, as Jack Dee recently said, shopping channels can be compulsive viewing in their own right whilst he was promoting the latest series of Lead Balloon. But will 3D persuade viewers to part from their cash more easily? We won’t know until proper trials have been conducted but, from a personal perspective, the 3D aspect was more of a distraction than a sales tool. Watching the products on a passive 3DTV meant I was losing half the resolution of the product detail. Although I got a better appreciation of what the product contours were like, I believe I would get a better impression of the product in HD rather than 3D. Also, there was conflict with the reflections in the jewellery they were showing as each camera in the stereo rig picked up a different angle.
The other question is, how often do people chose to watch a shopping channel? Very often (and this is my theory – I’m afraid I can’t support this statement with hard facts!) I will end up on a shopping channel after flicking through the channels. Wearing glasses requires you to go into an ‘appointment to view’ mode.
If QVC were ever to launch 3D services I can imagine there will be options to view selected products in 3D maybe as a red button or on demand service. Certain products would benefit more from 3D than treatment than others. For example, a laptop being demo’ed in 3D would have limited use but something with visual appeal such as clothing could work well.
One thing is for sure, the UK will need a lot more 3D TV sets in people’s homes before QVC will consider installing stereo rigs in their studios.
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