Rob Daykin – “In the beginning 3D was a hash up…”

October, 2013
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4.5 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

A man who has his finger on the pulse of stereo 3D broadcast, Rob Daykin.

While attending the Creative 3D Summit in London earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Daykin, whose passion for stereoscopic 3D landed him a job at Telegenic, a pioneer in the broadcast industry.

After taking suitable advantage of the open at the after-hours networking session, Rob took my colleague and me on a tour of one of the telegenic 3D trucks (the first of its kind) and explained his some of his he has responsibilities when filming a live event in 3D.

The semantics of broadcasting live stereo 3D events are hugely different to say, making a 3D film in a studio, so Rob was good enough to come on Creative Chair and shed some light on the industry and his career.

Telegenic 3D

Hi Rob Daykin, to begin could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a 3D Engineer at Telegenic; I share the role with three others here. We elect a guarantee for each job. The 3D Engineer Guarantee is in charge of all of the 3D kit on his job.

The average week consists of kit prep throughout the week followed by a premiership football match on the weekend. This would mean fixing any faults found with 3D kit on the weekend just gone, making any changes to the kit should they need it for the following weekend and putting everything on the tender ready to be shipped to site.

The 3D Engineer Guarantee is also responsible for setting up the OB truck; this consists of setting up all of the convergence positions with a data connection to the rigs, all the correct cabling for the different types of hand controllers. All the monitors need to have a switcher panel with all the necessary sources, UMDs (under monitor display) and tallys.
Telegenic Truck

You began your 3D career after studying at Ravensbourne. However, you were telling me that, there was no dedicated stereoscopic 3D course when you attended?

Yes, that is correct, there wasn’t a dedicated stereoscopic 3D course at Ravensbourne when I attended. I was on the Broadcast Operations course which is a fairly relaxed course that gave me a lot of time to concentrate on my own projects. I latched on to a group of MA students that were trying to discover how stereoscopic imagery works as part of their course.

“In the beginning, 3D was a hash up, everything came in two’s, left eye, right eye. Double the kit; double the likelihood of kit failure. ”

With the help from their very excitable lecturers and some of my colleagues from my course and after many hours of sore heads and crossed eyes, we all started becoming very knowledgeable on the subject of stereoscopy. We made our own 3D rigs, live 3D monitoring systems, 3D edit suites, even 3D screens. We then started on various 3D projects; documentaries, music videos, time lapses, animations, live fashion shows and eventually the very successful 3D Storytelling Conference which has led on to become the 3D Creative Summit.

Ravensbourne was very supportive of our aspirations.

What are the primary obstacles you encounter when dealing with live as opposed to pre-recorded production?

Obviously, there are a lot of advantages to a pre-recorded production, 2D or 3D. The big difference in the 3D world is with pre-records; there is often (but not always) the chance to say “let’s fix it in post”, with live 3D that is obviously not an option.

We try to make sure the kit is as well prepared to go live as possible but nothing can stop Iggy Pop smashing his microphone into a  mirror (rig), or Gareth Bale smashing one just wide of the goal and knocking a rig out of alignment.

In the beginning, 3D was a hash up, everything came in two’s, left eye, right eye. Double the kit; double the likelihood of kit failure. At Telegenic we have strived to work everything down to a single path wherever possible. This has almost halved the amount of kit that could potentially fail on air and reduced time spent fault finding. Thus making live 3D production far more painless process.

3D Sport

Telegenic helps broadcast a wide range of live occasions such as formula 1, football and music events. Is there a great deal of difference in the way these events have to be managed from a 3D point of view?

With the football, we work in the same venues all through the football season, and all of the camera positions have been agreed upon, tried and tested. If we are working in a new venue, the camera positions will always be in question. Obtaining the optimum positions for the best 3D imagery can be difficult because it is often compromised by the necessity to avoid blocking the site lines from 2D camera positions and audience members.

Another difference that is evident between 2D and 3D productions, with 3D we often have an extra day of rigging before the event. This is due to the 3D rigs needing to go through a lineup process at the beginning of every job.

The 11th 366 Award goes to Rob Daykin for his outstanding creative work.

3D Cameras

What advice would you give someone who was interested in going into 3D broadcasting or another stereoscopic field? Would you recommend Ravensbourne’s stereoscopic 3D master’s degree?

Ravensbourne gives its students the freedom to play with technology to no end. It really is an incredible place to learn. The equipment available is almost as vast as the collective knowledge of the people in that building. The best bit of advice I can give anyone is to remember; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Ravensbourne have a lot of great links with the industry; it’s a great place to start.

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What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Rob Daykin
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