Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

The Immersive Digital Experience Alliance (IDEA) has debuted, with the stated goal of creating royalty-free specifications for all immersive media formats, including light field technology. The Alliance’s founding members include CableLabs, Charter Communications, Light Field Lab, OTOY and Visby. The Alliance has started developing the Immersive Technology Media Format (ITMF), slated for release in 2019, which the group believes will “serve as an interchange and distribution format that will enable high-quality conveyance of complex image scenes.” Continue reading Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

At CES 2018, Kodak showed its new Kodak Pixpro Orbit360 4K camera, debuted in August. Kodak is positioning the camera as a next-generation 360-degree camera for video and still photography that features built-in processing. The camera has two hemispherical lenses, one on either side of its rectangular body. One lens is 155 degrees and the other is 235 degrees; the two lenses work together to create the 360-degree, 4K image that can be live-streamed or uploaded via Wi-Fi to Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. Continue reading Kodak Shows 360-Degree Cam, VR Cameras in Development

NAB 2017: Google Unveils the New $17K Yi Halo VR Camera

At NAB this week, Google introduced its latest VR camera, the Yi Halo, one year after partnering with Xiaomi-backed, Chinese action cam maker Yi Technology. The $17,000 spherical device, which uses Google’s cloud-based stitching system Jump for producing stereoscopic 360-degree videos, will be available this summer. The Yi Halo combines 16 4K action cams with an extra camera facing upwards. While Google unveiled Odyssey two years ago, featuring 16 GoPros, the rig has largely served as a test case. The Yi Halo, however, is commercially designed with feature improvements and multiple extras. Continue reading NAB 2017: Google Unveils the New $17K Yi Halo VR Camera

Google Launches Jump Camera Rig and 3D Video Assembler

In fall 2014, Google began developing a project it just unveiled: the Jump 3D video capture and production platform for virtual reality. Just as the newly released Daydream View makes the VR headset affordable, with Jump, the company hopes to make VR production both less expensive and, with 3D, more immersive. Although 3D has lost popularity, its use for virtual reality creates more of a “you are there” experience by emulating the way human vision works. Most 360-degree videos are currently still shot in 2D. Continue reading Google Launches Jump Camera Rig and 3D Video Assembler

Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook just put the blueprint and software for its 17-lens Surround 360 stereoscopic 3D camera on GitHub, fulfilling a promise the company made earlier to make the camera design, assembly instructions, control software and stitching software available for free. Facebook’s move is seen as an effort to enable more people to create 360-degree immersive videos. By open-sourcing the camera’s construction and operation, developers will be able to create products and speed up the development of the marketplace. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

In the world of UHD/4K, movies and TV programs can require massive amounts of compute power. Take a recent 50-minute UHD natural history documentary that Sundog Media Toolkit worked on. Chief executive Richard Welsh reports it ran for four hours on over 5,000 processors. The necessity for finding huge amounts of compute power is becoming a challenge for productions, he notes.We could have run that job in real time if we had split it up more, and that would have taken us up to more than 20,000 processors for one hour.” Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

A technique called light field capture will become the foundation for photoreal virtual actors for virtual reality, says Paul Debevec, chief visual officer at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT). At the recent VRLA Expo, Debevec gave a talk on the topic that explored two decades of research and development in light field capture technology, and described the basics of what makes this technique so compelling to create photorealistic virtual reality. Continue reading ABCs of Light Field Capture, Key to Photorealistic Virtual Reality

Magic Leap’s Cinematic Reality May Replace Your Smartphone

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz participated in a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) session last week and his answers revealed some of the virtual reality company’s lofty ambitions. The startup raised some $542 million last year to engineer a pair of chunky sports sunglasses that can make virtual objects appear in a real life setting, a technique called “cinematic reality.” Abovitz believes that Magic Leap’s computing technology could eventually replace the other screens in our daily lives, including those on smartphones. Continue reading Magic Leap’s Cinematic Reality May Replace Your Smartphone

Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to revive the toymaker’s iconic View-Master device. In place of cardboard discs with stereoscopic images, the updated toy will incorporate the View-Master app on a user’s mobile phone and deliver a true virtual reality experience. The technology used for the View-Master is identical to that which powers Google Cardboard, and like Cardboard, the View-Master was designed to make VR affordable. The View-Master will retail for $30 and be available later this year. Continue reading Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

SmartEyeglass: Sony Demonstrates AR Glasses at APPNATION

Sony demonstrated its SmartEyeglass product during APPNATION VI at CES, held at The Cosmopolitan Hotel. The augmented reality glasses use two forward-facing projectors built into see-through glasses to overlay data at a controlled stereoscopic distance in space onto the real world. Sony will sell the glasses at “a high price point” to consumers in a few select markets starting this quarter. More importantly, they hope to interest and involve developers worldwide and build out an ecosystem of apps over time. Continue reading SmartEyeglass: Sony Demonstrates AR Glasses at APPNATION

NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Walt Disney Studios’ experimental live action 3D film “Make/Believe” will be shown at NAB in Las Vegas next month. Currently in the final stages of post production, the 10-minute 3D short was shot with a new trifocal camera system. “Make/Believe” was produced by German research institute Fraunhofer HHI with Disney and Berlin firm Real Life Films using Fraunhofer’s hybrid camera system and software. The film will be shown in the Fraunhofer booth at NAB. Continue reading NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, a collection of tech companies and organizations announced the formation of the non-profit Immersive Technology Alliance (formerly S3DGA), which plans to develop games involving augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D and gesture controls. Members include Avegant, Big Blue Bubble, Electronic Arts, Epson, GameFace Labs, Technical Illusions and others. Earlier reports that Oculus VR is involved in the consortium turned out to be inaccurate. Continue reading Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

VR News: Oculus Rift Secures $75 Million in Venture Funding

Virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, which began as a Kickstarter project seeking $250,000 (and eventually generated $2.4 million), is expected to transition from prototype to available product, thanks to $75 million in Series B venture funding led by VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. Oculus VR also announced that Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of the individuals behind Mosaic and Netscape, will join the company’s board of directors. Continue reading VR News: Oculus Rift Secures $75 Million in Venture Funding

Design: Groundbot Spherical Surveillance Robot Delivers 3D Video

  • The Groundbot spherical surveillance robot from Sweden “can roll through mud, sand, snow, or heck, float on water if it need be — while using its pair of cameras to deliver its remote operator with a live live video feed — in stereoscopic 3D, no less,” reports Ubergizmo.
  • This is a great simple design for a device that could be used in many hazardous situations such as combating crime and detecting potential terrorism.
  • The Groundbot can travel up to 6 mph and features knobby tire treads for all-terrain operation. The robot includes sensors for “radioactivity, gas, humidity, fire, heat, smoke, biological material, explosives, or narcotics.”
  • “One controls the Groundbot remotely or through a programmed autonomous GPS-based system, where the Groundbot works like your regular DSLR — you can opt to include a wide-angled camera (for 360-degree vision), or if the situation arises, use a night vision (IR) camera instead.”

Hollywood Invited to Test Drive MIT/NASA Stereo 3D Camera Rig

  • Community partnering initiative School Safety Summit, established by Colorado State Senator Steve King, has announced that a new 360-degree 3D motion picture camera rig developed at MIT under two NASA contracts is being tested by Colorado education leaders and community partners.
  • The panoramic rig is also available for Hollywood experimentation. According to the press release: “The Summit’s 3D Task Force invites filmmakers and 3D TV producers worldwide to join the experiment and develop scriptwriting and directing approaches that take full advantage of the 360-degree stereo 3D experience made possible by the new system.”
  • The press release adds: “Participating industry leaders will have a first look to evaluate applications in theatrical and home entertainment, special events, education, and enterprises that would benefit from omnidirectional robotic vision and depth perception as well as an unprecedented level of image and sound processing.”
  • The stereoscopic system synchronizes multiple cameras to create a “high resolution, wide field of view image database from which images can be combined in real time.” Image blending technology collects data wirelessly and generates an “extended panoramic view in which the combined images form a full circle, or movie cyclorama. Images can also be combined so that the cycloramic view extends upwardly or downwardly to create a continuous, unobstructed, omnidirectional image that extends a full 4 pi steradians.”
  • The inventors cite applications ranging from the control of robots on planetary surfaces to the control of firefighting drones to event filming and dramas that place the audience at the center of the story.
  • For those who may be interested, sign up at www.3DTaskForce.org for an orientation kit and schedule.

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