Grush: The Gaming Tooth Brush. Honest, i

Grush: The Gaming Tooth Brush. Honest, it’s Actually a Thing http://ow.ly/uJxYE #Grush #2min2x #dental

“The Hobbit” 1920×1080@48 per-view Cannot be Viewed from Blu-Ray 3D

The Hobbit: Too much bandwidth for HDMI receiver?

The HDMI 1.4a specification that is used as the uncompressed interface of most 3D Blu-ray players is defined thusly by HDMI:

3D Mandatory Formats

  • For movie content:
    • Frame Packing
      • 1080p @ 23.98/24Hz
  • For game content:
    • Frame Packing
      • 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
  • For broadcast content:
    • Side-by-Side Horizontal

      • 1080i @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
    • Top-and-Bottom
      • 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
      • 1080p @ 23.97/24Hz

We can see here that Frame Packing at 1080p per-view tops out at 24Hz, or 48Hz total for both eyes combined, while  720p content can be viewed at 60Hz, or 120Hz total.

Silicon Image HDMI Processor

Silicon Image HDMI Processor

 

What is the reason for this? It’s not only that the HDMI TX transmitter found in the source device is limited to 60Hz output but that most HDMI RX receivers found in HD televisions are also limited to 60Hz (59.94) input.

So, while the Hobbit could possibly, with a firmware update, be played back with existing equipment at 48Hz x2=96Hz total at 720p, the processing speed of the HDMI transmit and receive simply cannot handle 1920×1080 at anything faster than 29.98Hz per-view.

The actual HDMI cable itself is clearly possible of supporting higher frame rates in 3D, meaning users would be able to retain their existing HDMI cables, however, devices would require updated HDMI hardware to handle the increased bandwidth processing.

Musings on NAB 2012

"If only you could see what I've seen with your eyes..." --Blade Runner

It’s been a year since my last post. Coincidentally, (or not)  it’s been a year since the last NAB show.

There was a 3.9 earthquake here in Irvine California, and that was enough to wake me from my yearlong cryogenic status to take a look at what has happened in the past year from last NAB to this one.

The best quote overheard at the show I will attribute to Pete Putnam, an analyst for Insight Media.  “NAB 2012 is virtually identical to NAB 2011, with the exception that the demonstrations that weren’t in a usable state in 2011, actually work in 2012″ Said Pete.

Let’s have a look around and see if that’s the case. I’ll be taking pictures with my EVO 3D phone, and compared to last year, blurrycam is in full effect!

You heard it here first: "Without rig-system you can make 3D!"

The above claim pertains to the 3D Lensys system which is a single lens 3D camera that acquires left and right frames sequentially. By the looks of it there is some sort of rotating blade that manages the swapping between the views to be captured. The system is very similar to the one described here. They were filming a static miniature scene, I would be interested to check for temporal artifacts in fast motion content.

A child only a mother could love?

Let’s go outside to the outdoor section connecting the central and south halls and check out the 3D trucks and some more traditional rigs. ESPN 3D, 3ality Technica, and the Cameron Pace Group (CPG), were all clustered close together, their mobile truck units camped next to their outdoor tents.

...and this happened.

A the CPG tent I had a look at their Shadow D technology which allows a 2D operator to manage a 2D camera mounted to a 3D rig. The operator simply needs to manage the 2D camera and the 3D rig will respond and control the 3D configuration parameters.

3D + 2D = 5D?

The concept is great for certain sporting events. In the larger context, when considering weekly or daily television shows, the left eye view of the 3D capture system should be used as the 2D version. This is because if there is a separate 2D camera, there will need to be a separate channel, separate bandwidth, and separate distribution of the content down the 3D chain. For massive adoption of 3D to the Home and mobile, content needs to be “In 3D Where Available”.

Next, I stopped by to analyze the Dolby / Philips 3D System. I had seen the press release about the system and wanted to check it out first-hand. I have a very clear belief that it is irresponsible to advertise glasses 3D for the home when it is simply not ready for the living room, for multiple reasons. People say “Why buy a 3D television with glasses, I’ll wait for the glasses-free system” In fact they will be old and grey before they will be able to do so. If anybody wants me to write a separate blog post explaining exactly why I’m saying this, I’m happy to do it, just leave a comment on this entry.

Like the Costa Concordia getting a tow to safety from the Titanic

This system uses the Dolby half resolution + enhancement layer proposal, along with the Philips view synthesizer and renderer. I don’t need to get into the deeper technical details of the system, since  empirically it looked quite flat. In fact, other than the Dolby logo I couldn’t perceive any depth at all. I heard the same comment from other viewers, which is actually saying a lot, given that there is a sort of “Emperor has no clothes” effect that happens sometimes when people think they are seeing 3D when in fact they are really not. The prototype 28 view display seemed to have been damaged during shipping as the upper right corner of the screen overlay was peeling off.

I decided to exit the demo a bit early and take a look at another glasses free display from Japanese research group NICT. And who wouldn’t get at least a little excited about a 200-inch glasses free 3D display.

Shut up and take my money! ....wait a second, what's the catch?

...no catch! Just go to your local Best Buy, purchase your 200 projector array wall and you are ready to party! (200 view rendered content not included)

If I seem a little negative, it could be because I’m anything but an auto-stereo fanatic, in fact I am a fan of more things mounted on the face!

Keep talking, I'm totally paying attention!

I moved on to check out the Epson Moverio see-through HMD. The unit is an improvement over other semi-transparent units I’ve seen in the past. The Android OS, track controller and SDK are also promising. The QHD resolution and optics, I’m not as jazzed about. Still, I’m happy to see that people are starting to wake up to the HMD opportunity.

There were plenty of other things to see on the show floor. I ran into Barry Sandrew, of Legend3D, showing some 2D->3D converted content.

As it is said "To shoot in 3D? Or to shoot in 2D with 3D in mind for conversion in post? That is the question!"

Finally I stopped by at Dashwood Cinema Solutions, where Jason Goodman of 21st Century 3D was showing off his newest rig, the BX4 Beamsplitter.

Wish I was using that instead of this blurry Evo 3D camera!

The event wrapped up with a nice pool party put on by Stereoscopic Filmmaker.

In conclusion, I would say that Pete’s statement about the show was more or less correct, with the additional buzz of 4k and high frame-rate (48-60 fps). Higher resolution and frame-rate will ultimately be a boon to 3D adoption as it will make less sense to try to shoehorn 3D solutions into existing 2D devices that are ill equipped to provide compelling 3D with their scant computational resources.

NAB 2011 Day Three

NAB Wednesday started early at 8 AM with a 3D@Home meeting. The first part of the meeting was open for non-members. This opening session covers the status of the 3D@Home working groups, new member introductions, and standards liaison updates.

Steering Team 2 (ST2 – 3D Content Storage / Transmission / Distribution) co-chairman Thierry Borel of Technicolor gave a nice presentation on the latest in ST2.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a plaque commending me on my past work as the ST3 Worldwide 3D Promotional co-Chair.

Here is Mr. Rick Dean from THX presenting me with my transparent plaque.

Everybody please visit the 3D@Home website. There is a wealth of info there!

A notable new member to the 3D@Home consortium is Meduza Systems. Meduza has innovated a sensor agnostic, fully modularized stereoscopic camera. The Meduza supports multiple “beyond 4k” sensor options and numerous HD and 2K sensor options.

3ality Digital spared absolutely no expense in their 2011 NAB showing. The 3ality exhibit / campus, is located in the outdoor open space between the south lower and central halls.

The exhibit has a soccer field, that turns into a basketball court. Here is a game of wheelchair assisted basketball, filmed with all sorts of 3ality capture technologies from cameras on jibs, to steadycam, beam splitters, side-by-side rigs, and more. A truly massive operation.

Here is a view from inside the neighboring tent.

This tent is packed full of equipment for camera control and alignment, QC, switching, post production, and monitoring.

Today was really a blur. There is some sort of temporal vortex that I get sucked into when I pass the threshold of the LVCC. I’m sure many of my NAB colleagues feel the same. I was told today that the show could go on for another 5 days and still be interesting!

–4:36 AM Goodnight!

NAB 2011 Day Two

At the CML meetup this evening it was said more than once  “If a bomb went off in this room, there wouldn’t be any 3D, there simply wouldn’t be any skilled stereographers left!”

Eric Kurland, Erik Spicard, Ethan Daniel Schur, Céline Tricart, Tom Koester, Ray Zone

Without skilled stereographers, aspiring newbees would need to depend on the plug-n-play, run n’ gun, integrated stereo acquisition devices like this Sony camcorder

See that little knob? It is on the lower right behind the lens casing. That’s the convergence / iris control. I don’t claim to be a stereographer, although I am capable of spelling 3D (a key requirement). In any case, my proclivity is to have easier access to the convergence knob, in fact I’d prefer it if the convergence control was located right next to the zoom control, manipulated by some sort of smooth convergence slider.

Maybe the convergence control is tucked away to dissuade people from getting trigger happy.

Look at these mini 1080p cameras developed by Fraunhofer.

Below you will see a “Through / Under” Beam Splitter 3D (BS3D) rig by Element Technica. Having a camera below facing up allows for more vertical clearance, while limiting the downward rotational angle of the rig.

SterGen has achieved realtime 2D to 3D conversion of generally acceptable quality for the sports arena.

The geometry of the soccer field is known, the lines in the grass, the ball, and other elements.

Maybe some sort of Baysian logic or “Bag of Words” techniques are used to generate parallax values from the 2D image. The field is static and 80% the majority of the background so in-filling after image segmentation looks natural. In fact the details of this system are scant. The above are just guesses.

Sports is such a large market. Seems attractive to run some tests of this system, modified for American football.

Jacqueline, whom you might have met at my previous CES blog, returned to her 3D roots, representing the very stylish Marchon 3D eyewear.

Michael Starks from 3DTV Corp is very inquisitive. In fact he is relentless! Together we extrapolated a lot of information about extrapolation. Specifically extrapolating 28 views from a stereoscopic pair using view synthesis. The number 28 is necessary to power the Philips branded Dimenco auto-stereoscopic 28 view display.

Below you will see Michael next to me, holding aloft a specially modified video source device that feeds the RGB pixel line metadata that switches the display into 2D+Depth processing mode.

Actually the input format “2D+Depth” is really a side by side image. On the left side is the half resolution 2D texture, maybe the left camera, and on the right side is the half resolution depth map.

Depth maps that are hand drawn look just so nice. Depth maps that are taken from CGI Z buffer look great too!

Depth maps that come from live action look very messy. Not ready for prime time.

However, Depth Maps are not required for that display, one could feed the Dimenco a formatted video file at 1920×1080 with the proper pixel interleave and power the television just fine without using 2D+Depth mode.

GoPro bought CineForm

More tomorrow!

-Ethan Daniel Schur

NAB Day One

It's important to test out new cameras on colorful imagery

It is NAB time again! What a great time of the year. I’m very busy with meetings and sessions, however I take some quick snaps as I travel from hall to hall.

Dude the GoPro 3D camera is totally tubular!

I popped into the sessions whenever I got the chance. Here is a slide from a presentation by Namho Hur of ETRI, a major Korean research Institute. What we see here is that half resolution frame compatible 3D imagery shows more artifacts than simulcasted stereo pair of video. This is because half the pixel resolution is removed from frame compatible images, and interpolated later on the viewing end.

Stating the obvious?

It’s important to respect the human brain, it is capable of so much! It has been postulated that if one of the views of a stereoscopic pair is of lower quality than the other, then the brain will not notice the difference. However I found my brain hurting a little bit after a few minutes of viewing this content. When switched to side-by-side mode I could see why, the right view was very degraded compared to the left. There was a lot of retinal rivalry going on. My brain was doing more work to put these dissimilar images together.  With 1080i for the left view and 480p for the right view, I must exclaim “Vive la Différence!” Actually the still image below doesn’t accurately depict what I was seeing since the issues show up much more prominently when the imagery is viewed in motion.

HD on the left SD on the right

Tim Dashwood has some cool mac software that helps with S3D production.

The above pic is a little blurry. One cool feature of Tim Dashwood’s software is the ability to calibrate a stereo rig based on its output video.

It’s pretty late over here so I will leave you off with something cool, mobile DTV solutions provided by Harris. It’s great to see where we are headed, however it’s clear that pixel sub-sampling and interpolation are all the more deadly on mobile devices where the resolution can be cut in the horizontal from 480 to 240 due to frame squeezing.

Goodnight All!

-Ethan Daniel Schur

Game Developers Conference Day One

GDC is a healthy event, vibrant and full of activity. It’s clear that many companies pour resources into this show, with Google giving away 250 Xoom tablets on Tuesday, and multiple companies staging extravagant after-parties.

TDVision has been working on our S3D Gaming technology, TDVirtualCam since 2003 with great results. It is very gratifying to see the gaming industry begin to massively adopt S3D gaming technology in the home. I hit the show floor to check out the latest and greatest in the field.

The first thing I was interested in looking at was the Nintendo 3DS. I was able to snap a picture using my Fuji 3D Camera (graciously provided by Fuji) to take a picture of the auto-stereoscopic screen of the 3DS in 3D. Here is an anaglyph render of Capcom’s 3DS Street Fighter game.

I enjoy the 3DS, it has a built in 3D camera, can play 3D content, and takes social networking to a new level. That being said, I do find the graphics a bit lacking, and I would have been happier to see a more powerful graphics chip in the device like the Imagination Technologies GPU found in the OMAP 5.

However, this was simply my first hands on demo. I am expecting a review unit, and it’s quite possible that I will revise my opinion on the graphics capabilities, as I spend more time with the software and hardware.

I went to a talk on the creation of the Nintendo 3DS that was pretty good. We all wore earpieces to translate Mr. Kono’s talk from Japanese.

Here is a picture of me with Nintendo of America (NOA) CEO Reggie Fils-Aime. Reggie refused to have his picture taken with my Fuji camera, insisting that any 3D pictures of him must be taken with a 3DS. That being the case, here is me and Reggie in 2D!

Want to see what the 3DS looked like as it was being developed? This is an image of a modified Wii using a prototype 3D screen.

I had a lot of meetings today, and it was pretty busy. I did find time to pick up some freebies, and I must say GDC has some of the best swag out there.

There were a few after-events today, like Women in Gaming International (WIGI), World of Tanks party, and a strange one at Jillians at the Metreon, a Toga party. No I did not put on a toga.