3ality Digital shifts the 3D equation
COW Library : NAB Show : Debra Kaufman : 3ality Digital shifts the 3D equation
Even the most avid 3D stereoscopic fan has to admit that it costs more--often a lot more--to produce 3D stereoscopic content, especially live events. In general, NAB 2011 showed a great deal of evolution with regard to 3D stereoscopic tools. But 3ality Digital's new products might just add the "r" to the front of that evolution.
More specifically, the company--which was founded in 2000 by CEO Steve Schklair--has created a software toolset aimed at making an S3D production on par with a 2D production when it comes to crewing, flexibility and costs.
Steve Schklair, 3ality Digital CEO
3ality Digital debuted IntelleCam and IntelleCal, part of the 3space suite of products, to make acquiring S3D content easier and more efficient. The company also developed three new products specifically for the live S3D broadcast environment: IntelleScene, IntelleMatte and IntelleMotion.
IntelleCal does the job of a 3D technician by automatically aligning the two cameras on a rig at the push of a button. The software profiles and matches lenses and performs alignment on five axes through the entire zoom range. The speed is also significant; Schklair says that the alignment process, which "traditionally takes up to an hour to set" now takes place, automatically, in five minutes.
IntelleCam also takes care of a crew- and time-intensive task in S3D products: controlling convergence and interaxial spacing of the cameras. IntellCam automatically controls those, which cuts the need for a convergence puller at each rig. For a multi-camera shoot, this is a significant reduction in cost and crew. Both of these solutions are used in conjunction with 3ality Digital's processing units and 3flex S3D camera rigs. IntelleCal uses the SIP and an additional processing unit, to be named.
Bringing automated tools for S3D live production, 3ality Digital showed IntelleScene, which creates automated transitions for S3D. If you're sensitive to 3D, as I am, the transitions can be painful. IntelleScene computes real-time depth-specific metadata and prevents less-than-comfortable transitions.
On-screen graphics continue to be a challenge for stereoscopic content--especially live events. Figuring out the right depth for that lower third is tricky when the content on the screen is quite literally a moving target. That's why 3ality Digital came up with IntelleMatte, an S3D graphics application that enables proper insertion of graphics between objects in the foreground and background via automated composite scene depth management. I got a look at this at 3ality Digital's Burbank offices and, I must admit, was a skeptic that this could work. Seeing it in action at NAB made me more of a believer. I still want to see it in action in a real production, but I was favorably impressed.
One of the roadblocks in producing live S3D events, especially sports, has been the inability to capture action at a great distance, since the combination of long lenses and 3D can be painful to watch. IntelleMotion compensates for IS/VR tracking which means that cinematographers/cameramen can use standard long lenses.
Dec 4 2008 NFL Thursday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders
IntelleMatte and IntelleMotion, by the way, are standalone systems that can be used with any stereoscopic left eye/right eye feed. IntelleScene requires use with a 3ality Digital acqusition system.
3ality Digital technology is already being used for The Hobbit and The Amazing Spiderman. The company also has a history in capturing live 3D sports broadcasts. Although some broadcasters have been quoted as being less than enthusiastic about capturing and broadcasting live 3D sports, 3ality Digital has put a sizeable dent in their concerns. If 3D truly is as cost effective and automated as 2D, why not? Time will tell, but these are the kinds of technology leaps necessary to get broadcast executives to sign off on 3D productions.
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