Much has been made of the quality of broadcast by MotoGP's organizers, Dorna. The camerawork and onboard footage is very highly rated by the fans, and has received plaudits from the international media around the world. The only complaint that fans have had - apart from a lack of access in some countries - has been the fact that the broadcasts have not yet been available in High Definition.
Fortunately for the fans, this is about to change: This season, a number of broadcasters around the world are to show the races in HD quality. Viewers in the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Portugal, Hungary, Brazil, Singapore, the Middle East and in Africa will get to see the races in HD from Qatar, with other countries expected to start showing HD as the season progresses.
Even better is the news that fans won't just get to see the racing in HD, but also in 3D. John Bruno, the director and special effects expert who has worked on movies such as Titanic and Avatar, demonstrated 3D footage from Laguna Seca round to a small audience at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, and that footage was so well received that Bruno is to film a documentary of the 2010 MotoGP season. As one of the lucky souls who saw that footage, I can confirm that the 3D effects were extraordinary, adding a depth and reality to the footage which made it come alive. Seeing Laguna Seca's Corkscrew in 3D actually did justice to the corner, making you fully appreciate just what a drop that corner is.
Here's the official press release from Dorna :
MotoGP fans around the world will be able to view their favourite sport in the most incredible clarity in 2010, as the world's premier motorcycle championship will broadcast in full HD for the first time. Whilst much of the track action over the last year has already been filmed by High Definition cameras, this is the first time that viewers at home will be able to experience the crisp quality of HD when watching the MotoGP race action.
HD has become a standard now for top level sports, and MotoGP is no exception. However, covering up to six kilometres of track, seventeen race bikes, the pit garages and helicopter shots with HD cameras has required years of planning and preparation from series organiser Dorna Sports.The biggest challenge has been the on board cameras, Dorna together with Gigawave are working to develop these extremely sophisticated cameras.
In 2010, RTL Club (Belgium), Eurosport (France), Sport TV (Portugal), Digisport (Hungary) and Viasat (Scandinavia) will all broadcast the MotoGP season in HD within Europe. The worldwide reach of MotoGP in HD will stretch as far as Speed TV (US), ESPN (Latin America), Globosat (Brazil), One HD (Australia), StarHub (Singapore), Sky (New Zealand), Al Jazeera (Middle East), ESPN Star Sports (Asia) and Supersport (Africa), with further HD broadcasters expected to come on board during the season.
"Working alongside the most recognised sports broadcasters worldwide and being one of the leading motorsports championships, we have a duty to stay abreast of all the emerging technologies which help us to capture the speed and adrenaline of MotoGP" said Manel Arroyo, Managing Director of Dorna.
In an exciting development, the evolution of the delivery of MotoGP in even more lifelike quality may not stop at HD. With 3D cinematography already being successfully pioneered in the world of cinema, the same technology is now poised to revolutionise sports broadcasting. Last year at the Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca and in conjunction with the 3D and digital systems specialists Vince Pace, Dorna Sports carried out a successful trial of the latest HD 3D Fusion camera systems.
For 2010 the Pace team, led by John Bruno who was part of the Visual Effects team involved in the Academy Award winning Avatar film, plans to produce a documentary. This will feature images captured during the MotoGP season, and channels broadcasting in 3D such as ESPN and Sky have already shown interest in broadcasting such coverage of the sport.