Thursday, March 31, 2011

Peter Jackson will shoot The Hobbit in 3D

It looks like Peter Jackson is planning to shoot the two Hobbit films entirely in stereoscopic 3D using the new RED EPIC camera. I was really hoping that The Hobbit would escape this pointless 3D filmmaking craze, but it looks like that's not going to happen. The Hobbit is coming to us in the third dimension.

Like I said earlier, Jackson will use the new RED EPIC camera, which hasn't officially been released yet. Jackson has been a fan of the RED cameras for a long time already, and actually shot a short film for RED called Crossing The Line. For those of you not familiar with the RED cameras, the RED ONE cameras shoot digitally at 4K resolution, while the new RED EPICS will capture 5K resolution at 120 frames+ / second. The EPIC will have the highest dynamic range ever for a digital camera as well. "The EPIC'S small size and relatively low weight, makes it perfect for 3D - where two cameras have to be mounted on each 3D rig. "

Here's what Jackson had to say about the new camera:

I have always liked the look of Red footage. I'm not a scientist or mathematician, but the image Red produces has a much more filmic feel than most of the other digital formats. I find the picture quality appealing and attractive, and with the Epic, Jim and his team have gone even further. It is a fantastic tool, the Epic not only has cutting edge technology, incredible resolution and visual quality, but it is also a very practical tool for film makers. Many competing digital systems require the cameras to be tethered to large cumbersome VTR machines. The Epic gives us back the ability to be totally cable free, even when working in stereo.

I'm a big fan of the new RED camera technology myself, and this new RED EPIC sounds like a pretty incredible camera. This is the future of filmmaking and camera technology and this movie is going to look great up on the big screen!

The Hobbit is expected to start filming back to back early next year with a 2012 release expected for part one and 2013 release for part two. The Hobbit movies will be directed by Peter Jackson, and will star Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Rob Kazinsky, Aidan Turner, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, James Nesbitt, and Adam Brown.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Doctors use Xbox Kinect in cancer surgery

Scientists may be opening up the lucrative medical devices market to consumer gadgets companies with a group of Toronto doctors using Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect in the operating room.

Dr. Calvin Law and his team at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre use Microsoft’s Kinect video game sensor during cancer surgery to view critical patient imaging.

The hands-free device means Dr. Law doesn’t have to leave the sterile field around the patient to view MRI and CT scans.

It’s like having a GPS navigator in the operating room, said Dr. Law who has used the technology in six liver cancer surgeries in the last month or so.

Before the innovation, Dr. Law had to leave the sterile field around the patient, put on another pair of gloves, review images on their computer, memorize the data, re-sterilize and return to the operating table.

Dr. Law said the Kinect fills a hole in his team’s needs. Hospitals have invested hundreds of thousands in the latest and greatest imaging over the years but access from the operating room remains a problem.

“Because there’s no computer than can be sterile or clean,” he said.

To date, Microsoft remains on the “periphery” of the multi-billion dollar healthcare solutions industry, said John Moore, a health IT analyst and blogger at Chilmark Research in Cambridge, MA.

But the company is making inroads into the hospital business, he said.

Last week, the Redmond, Wash.,-based company said it launched its Sentillion healthcare products in Asia, a year after acquiring the computer program company.

The Xbox maker is not alone.

“Sony has been poking around into the market” testing out its consumer-type products in healthcare settings, Moore said. Cisco is making a name for itself in hospital room teleconferencing. And many doctors are using Nintendo’s Wii for physical rehabilitation therapies.

Still, the biggest players in Canada’s $6.4-billion medical devices remain companies like Johnson & Johnson, General Electric Healthcare, Siemens and Phillips.

Matt Strickland, a general surgery resident at University of Toronto and engineer adapted the Kinect for the OR with Jamie Tremaine, a mechatronics engineer and Greg Brigley, a computer engineer.

They hooked up the Kinect sensor to their own computer allowing the surgeon to view scans of the patient from a suspended monitor by making gestures in the air, without having to leave the all-important sterile field.

Stickland said Microsoft purposefully chose not encrypt the Kinect stream of data so that it could be used as an open source in a whole host of applications like assistance for the blind and robotics.


Monday, March 28, 2011

SMTPE 2nd Annual International Conference on Stereoscopic 3D for Media and Entertainment

SMPTE is pleased to invite you to the only scientific event focused solely on the critical technologies needed for widespread and sustained 3D adoption.

Once again, we’ll feature the latest work of leading scientists, researchers, and engineers. Better still, we’ve co-located our event with DV Expo East, which takes place on 22 June 2011, and will feature technology exhibits, keynotes, educational sessions, networking events and more!

Together, it’s a perfect gathering for motion-imaging researchers, practitioners, and business decision makers. And by registering for the SMPTE conference, you get a free, all-access pass to DV Expo East!

Authoritative & Comprehensive 3D Science

This year’s event will again address the science behind a number of critical topics, including:

Stereoscopic and the Human Visual System

How do people perceive the stereoscopic images of today’s flat displays – and what are the human factors involved? Are some displays better than others at fusing stereoscopic content? This session will explore where the biological, physiological, and image sciences meet.

Stereoscopic Image Acquisition

Are side-by-side and beam-splitter cameras the only ways to capture stereoscopic images? Are we heading toward the use of machine vision to address key acquisition issues? This session will explore the latest advancements in all types of stereoscopic image acquisition.

Stereoscopic Image Processing

What is the state of the art of 2D-to-3D conversion? Can we really fix it in post? How do we color correct stereo? How are we handing shot tracking for visual effects in stereo? This session explores the latest advancements in image processing for stereoscopic content.

Advancements in Stereoscopic Display

How fast are we approaching holography? Can we lose these glasses? What is the state of the art of glasses technology? Where are we at with auto-stereoscopic display? This session explores the technology trajectories of display devices for theatrical and home entertainment systems.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dimension 3 International S-3D & new images forum [VIDEO]

Today, the power of animated images is exploited by all branches of the communication and information industry; yet this is only the beginning… For instance, video will make up 90% of online traffic by 2015.

Stereoscopic 3D, augmented reality, haptic technologies, ultra high resolution: Digital technologies lead to a large variety of new usage values and expressive processes. All this new potential is exciting indeed! However, this large variety can also be disconcerting, as producing so many images and finding their optimal usage will prove to be quite a challenge…

These issues inevitably require some training, information and exchanges with professionals. This is why in 2011, the Forum will keep on bridging the gap between professionals who offer new tools, products, services and applications in the field of new images on the one hand, and those who are looking for solutions or innovative practices in digital imaging, from creation to screening, on the other hand.

Dimension 3's 2011 edition will also offer, more than ever, a place for budding talents to express themselves and for vocations to be born, by providing a number of educational activities and supporting younger generations.

We should acknowledge the importance of content creators in the field of 3D, so that tomorrow's world can be filled with smart images!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Using Kinect to Aid the Visually Impaired Navigate Indoor Environments

AVI - Navigational Aids for the Visually Imparied - aims to use the Kinect as a means of detecting the surroundings of an individual who is visually impaired in order to easily navigate indoor environments. The technology and set up involves using a Kinect camera strapped to a helmet that sends data captured from ones surroundings to a computer that produces vibrotactile feedback to a waistbelt which in turn assists with navigating around a rooms layout.

…depth information from the Kinect is mapped by our software onto three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors located at the left, center and right of the waist. These pairs of vibration motors are hot glued into a fabric waist belt and connected to an Arduino 2009 board. 

To increase the impact of the vibration motor they were put into the cap of a plastic bottle. The Arduino in the waist belt is connected via usb to a laptop that was mounted onto a special backpack-construction, which has holes for cables and fan.

By using several markers of the AR-Toolkit positioned in a room, they are able to provide tactile feedback to the user that maps out specific routes while indoors, assisting visually impaired people to navigate new areas without using a traditional "white cane"

The markers are tracked continuously all along the way and our software provides synthesized auditory navigation instructions for the person. These navigation instructions vary based on the distance of the person to the marker (which we get from Kinect's depth camera).


Monday, March 21, 2011

Piranha 3D 2011 [3DVideo]

Every year the population of sleepy Lake Victoria explodes from 5,000 to 50,000 for Spring Break, a riot of sun and drunken fun.

But this year, there's something more to worry about than hangovers and complaints from local old timers; A new type of terror is about to be cut loose on Lake Victoria.

After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents.

[3D Video after the jump]

"Use a TOYin3D to watch this video in PARALLEL-VIEW on your mobile"

Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Stars: Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell and Richard Dreyfuss


Thursday, March 17, 2011

3D modelling with KINECT

The Kinect hacks keep rollin', and we just keep on lovin' every one of 'em -- despite most being decidedly non-practical. This one actually is, created by Sebastian Pirch at 3rD-EYE, a media production company. He's made a free-space 3D modeling tool using a Kinect camera to track his hands, which he uses to create points in space and draft a model. To provide greater control he then made two Arduino-powered gloves that detect finger touches -- basically DIY Peregrines. 

Using different connections of finger-presses he can move the entire model, move single points, create new points, create new polygons, and basically do everything he needs to do to create a mesh, which can then be imported into 3ds Max for further refinement. He even manages to make it all look fun, thus besting Lockheed Martin's similar system that's powered by zombies.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'Star Wars' 3D Coming in 2012, Lucas Says

Haven't had enough of the Jedi and Sith? Star Wars fans and movie-goers alike will be thrilled to know George Lucas and his post-production power-house Industrial Light and Magic will be returning the entire Star Wars series to theaters, starting in 2012, in full 3-D.

According to the The Hollywood Reporter, all six films in the sci-fi mega-selling series will be released in consecutive order, starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 2012. Fans of the movies will recall this is the second time the three original movies will have been re-released, the first time being in 1997 when new CGI footage was added to the films to mark their 20th anniversary.

Though originally skeptical of 3-D technology, George Lucas, the series creator and director, was won over to the technology by recent block-buster hits such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, according to the movie blog Hero Complex.

Star Wars purists will be happy to know there are, according to an interview with Industrial Light and Magic special effects manager John Knoll in Variety, no current plans to add new footage to any of the films. Knoll assures that they will be exactly as first run, and that every pain will be taken to ensure the quality of the Star Wars 3-D transfer.

There are somewhere between 2,000 and 2,500 3-D screens in the United States, as also reported in The Hollywood Reporter, though this number is growing by up to 500 screens a month. According to FOXNews, this, combined with the increasing prevalence of Sony 3D technology in the home, was a key factor in George Lucas' decision to port the Star Wars series to 3-D.

It's Lucas' hope that 3-D television will be common enough by the end of the Star Wars 3D theater run that a 3-D DVD format of the films will be financially viable and practical. He did not mention how many years it would take to complete the Star Wars 3D run, though the process of transferring studio film to 3-D is notoriously painstaking and could take several years to implement.

Regardless, eager viewers can expect the first run of the Star Wars 3-D films in 2012.

Looks like James Cameron's Titanicwill be heading to a 3D remake, too. Both titles will have to be converted from stereo shot format to 3D, and both are slated to appear in Spring of 2012.

Gil Kaufman, "Star Wars series to be Re-Released in 3D." MTV News
"Star Wars 3D Release." Fox News


Monday, March 14, 2011

Sony 3D Bloggie® HD Camera

It's no good guys, you're going to have to shuffle out from under that rock -- 3D is officially here to stay, having infiltrated affordable, pocketable devices like Sony's nifty Bloggie range.

We had a chance to play with the Bloggie 3D at CES 2011, view its lenticular screen -- which lets you watch back your footage without the need for glasses -- and saw a demo of footage shot with the device. Click through the photos above to check out this futuristic gadget, and read on to hear our first impressions.

The Bloggie 3D, or Bloggie 3D MHS-FS3 to give it its full title, is the first 3D pocket camcorder to shoot in 1080p. Around the back of it you'll find two separate lenses, each with its own sensor, which work in tandem to capture footage from slightly different angles.

[3D Video after the jump]

This is then combined inside the Bloggie and spat out the back, where you can enjoy your masterpieces in on a 2.4-inch lenticular screen, which will show you your videos in 3D, without the need for you to don any ridiculous specs.

We weren't entirely convinced by this panel. Sure, it works, and you can get a 3D effect as long as you hold your head in the right spot, but being so small, it looked a little dark and muddy, so we can't see it actually being that useful when it comes to critically reviewing your footage, when you'll want to be checking that things are properly in focus and so on.

We were more impressed by the lenticular screen in the upcoming Nintendo 3DS, so we reckon it's entirely possible to implement this tech in a convincing way.

Frustratingly, the Bloggie on show at CES wasn't able to shoot any video, and was showing a rolling demo on the screen instead. We were, however, treated to a screening of some 3D footage shot on a Bloggie 3D, for which we donned our 3D specs.

The footage was something of a mixed bag to be honest, clear and smooth enough, and with lots of the 3D stuff working really well. We did notice a few instances where the effect didn't work so well, however, or the Bloggie seemed to have become confused about what was part of the background and what was foreground material.

Based on this, we can see the Bloggie 3D appealing more to amateur movie-makers amused by the 3D novelty than serious video types who need the Bloggie to produce quick, high-quality footage.

The Bloggie 3D has 8GB of on-board storage, and like other Bloggies attaches to your computer via USB, which pops out of the Bloggie's left side, switchblade-style. There's an LED light for brightening up dark environments, and a socket for hooking the Bloggie up to an HD telly via HDMI. It can also shoot 5-megapixel stills.

The Bloggie 3D is looking pretty cool, but we'll need more time to test it before we decide whether it's the next step in camcorder evolution, or just a gimmicky bit of gadgetry. We'll have a review as soon as possible -- it's due out in the UK in April.

"Use a TOYin3D to watch this video in PARALLEL-VIEW on your mobile"


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bizet's opera Carmen in 3D from Covent Garden, London

The Royal Opera House has teamed up with 3D cinema technology provider, RealD, to film Francesca Zambello’s incredible production of Carmen. Both performances will begin at 7pm and will feature the full cast appearing in this summer's revivals, including Christine Rice, Bryan Hymel and Aris Argiris. Seats will be priced from £4 to £37.50. The film is being produced by UK production company Principal Large Format, helmed by the UK’s leading 3D director Julian Napier and produced by Phil Streather.

We want you to be part of this first ever opera filmed and distributed in 3D for a mass cinema audience.

Why See It?
Featuring acrobats, animals and a stunning cast, Francesca Zambello’s staging of this favourite opera ripples with the heat of the Spanish sun. Carmen combines instantly memorable melodies and colourful orchestration with a gripping love story, great energy and a sexy female protagonist. Today it is the most popular opera in the repertoire, but it still retains the capacity to shock, excite and move an audience. 

This is only half of the event; with all the cameras in the auditorium you will be able to witness the first opera in the UK being captured for 3D cinemas, and as an audience member you might just make it in the final cut, immortalised for ever in 3D cinema.

To add to your experience there will be a pre-performance introduction in the main auditorium to give you a flavour of the work involved capturing opera for 3D cinema. Francesca Zambello will introduce the production on 18 June and Director of The Royal Opera, Elaine Padmore, on 24 June.

Who are RealD?
RealD the leading global licensor of stereoscopic (three-dimensional), or 3D, technologies, offering stunningly realistic entertainment experience using next-generation digital 3D technology. Recent feature films shown in RealD 3D include James Cameron’s Avatar, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Up, and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs amongst others. Find out more about RealD.

Important information:
3D filming is very different to the normal kind. It requires a great many more cameras from various different angles. For this recording there will be a camera mounted on the front of the stage that will be free to run from right to left throughout the performance. There will also be a camera suspended on a large arm that swoops across the audience capturing both the stage action and the audience reaction from curtain up to curtain down. With many more static cameras placed around the auditorium you will never be far from the technical magic turning this stage production into a must see 3D cinema experience. Please be aware with all these cameras placed around the auditorium ALL the seats for these performances are classed as restricted view.

To give you an idea before purchasing your tickets please look at these images (right) to see where the main cameras will be.

Very Important Information:
By attending this performance of Carmen as an audience member, you consent to being filmed by the Royal Opera House and for such filming to be used without restriction in all media throughout the world.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Having the family in 3D is no longer science fiction

VaxRecon3D technology was developed by Vaxtor Systems for the Avatar 3D project. This is a TELEFONICA Technology Innovation Project software capable of reconstructing the tridimensional model of a person or object from video recorded on a mobile phone or conventional video camera.

The Technology
Current 3D reconstruction technologies consist of projecting different types of light beam on the object. Depending on the type of light (laser, infra-red, modulated, structured...), different types of information are obtained such as the distance to a point or deformation of a light pattern, which are used as the basis for calculating the reconstructed model. It is also possible to carry out reconstructions using a stereoscopic system or by using multiple cameras.

However, VaxRecon3D is a completely non-invasive technology that uses a single video camera. The 3D reconstruction is based on the movement of the actual camera; the objects present in the scene are modeled based on a video sequence.

As with the other technologies, VaxRecon3D requires a controlled environment to operate properly: static background, video recording based on certain conditions, etc.; small rules that may be implemented and followed easily and from which no current system used for reconstruction may escape. The advantage of VaxRecon3D is that only a single camera is required, a cell phone camera is sufficient; the task is thus simpler and may be carried out in any location.

At the present time, non-invasive (video only) 3D reconstruction technology is an open research niche that, for the moment, is unable to provide a definitive, reliable technique that provides completely satisfactory results. VaxRecon3D represents the base technology on which our future efforts will be based in order to meet our objective of providing faster, more reliable and realistic 3D reconstructions in less controlled conditions.

The videos that are currently being used for 3D reconstruction are between 30 and 60 seconds long. The scene must be static, i.e. objects in the scene must not move. A high resolution video camera is not necessary for video recording. Indeed, all models shown above has been built from video recorded with an iPhone.

The time required for reconstruction depends on scene complexity and the required point cloud density (usually between 20,000 and 500,000); however, we are able to state that the average time required for reconstruction is less than 15 minutes. Given the nature of the methods and algorithms used by our system, it is possible to reduce these times substantially and this is one of our current lines of work

Reconstruction examples using VaxRecon3D and iPhone video
The original video scene can be seen on the left, images of the reconstruction on the right. Some surfaces have been meshed; others show points cloud reconstruction only.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

3D royal wedding ruled out by Palace

Sky's hopes of filming Kate Middleton and Prince William's royal wedding in 3D have fallen flat.
Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding will not become the latest 3D TV phenomenon after Buckingham Palace ruled it out.

BSkyB, which launched a 3D television channel last October, went to great lengths to try to persuade the royal family of the possibilities afforded by the new technology, filming a mock wedding with the two leads played by stand-ins at a church in Eastbourne, Sussex, two weeks ago.

It was followed up by a 3D demonstration at the Guards Chapel in Windsor, but the palace on Tuesday ruled out filming the wedding – to be held on 29 April at Westminster Abbey – with the technology largely on logistical grounds, can reveal.

Patrick Harrison, press secretary to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, said there were a "number of reasons for the decision" but did not rule out a 3D royal event in the future. He added that the decision had been taken in consultation with the royal couple themselves, William's private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton and Westminster Abbey officials.

"I'm afraid I have to say that we have decided not to progress with 3D coverage of the service on this occasion," Harrison told the BBC, ITV news provider ITN and Sky News, in an email sent to the broadcasters.

"There are a number of reasons for this, most notably the additional camera footprint in the abbey, the relatively small (albeit growing) audience for 3D, and our desire to not be distracted away from negotiating and facilitating the optimal 2D, radio, photographic and online coverage of the day.

"I know you have all become increasingly enthusiastic about 3D and I'm sorry that this will come as a disappointment.

"I hope you feel the process we have gone through will be helpful for other live events and of course we do not rule out facilitating 3D at some point in the future.

"That said, I do hope we can now move forward on working through all the many other media logistics for the royal wedding so that we can all, together, ensure that this joyous event can be shared across the world."

A St James's Palace spokeswoman said: "After careful consideration we have decided not to progress with 3D coverage of the service on this occasion. There are a number of reasons for this, most notably the additional camera footprint in the abbey."

While Tuesday's decision rules out 3D coverage of the service in Westminster Abbey, it remains to be seen whether Sky will attempt to incorporate some kind of 3D coverage into other elements of the couple's big day.

Sky News recently joined the BBC and ITN on the rota of broadcasters that produce the Queen's Christmas message to the Commonwealth, leading to speculation that the annual broadcast will one day be broadcast in 3D.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Torrente 4 turns in 3D

Taking advantage of the promotion of unresolved sexual tension co-produced by Santiago Segura, this has made the continuation of Torrente is 3D shooting next year and already talked to James Cameron to take the first classes in this new production technology.

Fact or fiction?

Santiago says the study is actually being done to make it 3D, despite the difficulties in terms of cost and production time. The saga of the highest grossing Spanish film history has been generating great interest for years, especially since I get to announce fourth sequel of the series Torrente, but has not said much more about the plot or interpreters as their fans looking forward to laughing out loud and his detractors, looked sharp fingernails to speak out against one of the biggest commercial successes.

The beginning of the fourth installment will remain true to the peculiar character and idiosyncrasy could begin with an opening scene with Torrente crying at the grave of his adored Fary and lamenting that there is a black president in the White House.

History grossing Torrente.

Torrente stupid arm of the law in 1998 raised a whopping € 11 million and was seen in theaters for more than 3 million viewers. In the late nineties, was the highest grossing film in Spanish cinema.

Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella fold the amount of revenue and earned 5.3 million viewers, but seven years after its first issue appeared the third part: Torrente 3: The guard who was also a blockbuster with more than 18 million collected.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SoftKinetic releases free, Kinect-compatible 'iisu' dev kit

What's an "iisu," you ask? It's an acronym for "The Interface Is You," of course! It's also the name of SoftKinetic's "3D gesture recognition" software development kit, available now for "qualified developers" to license for free. The iisu SDK is said to work with "all major 3D depth-sensing devices," which we're told includes support for Microsoft's Kinect.

The free version of iisu is strictly a "non-commercial" SDK, though a full, commercial version can be purchased. The dev kit offers tools for building both games and applications, and includes Unity 3D and Flash support. Interested parties can get the ball rolling by applying for a free license on SoftKinetic's application page.

Between SoftKinetic's SDK and those from Evoluce, PrimeSense and even Microsoft itself, there will soon be, like, so many SDKs available for Kinect. We're gonna start stretching right now in preparation for the eventual results.

Softkinetic’s award-winning, patent-pending iisu™ ("the Interface is U") technology is the most advanced real-time 3D gesture recognition software platform on the market. Enabled with a depth sensing imager, it allows end-users to watch their video images or full-body 3D avatar while interacting in real time with computer-generated characters and devices. Compatible with all major 3D depth-sensing devices, iisu™ is available now to developers of Interactive Digital Entertainment, Serious Games, Interactive Marketing solutions and Consumer Electronics applications.

iisu™ software and tools insulate game and interactive application developers from the low-level technicalities of 3D depth-sensing imagers. Thanks to a rich set of interfaces and predefined gesture-based patterns, development cycles are dramatically reduced – developers can focus on their core business.

iisu™ is delivered as a cross platform software development kit (SDK). To assist customers with rapid product design, development and testing, we provide technical consulting and development services for 3D graphics, games or other applications.

To learn more about iisu and what it can offer you, please download our data sheet


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