BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic Future

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New BBC White Paper reveals research into holographic displays, 3D holoscopy for the Internet, new spatial sound systems, laser based glasses free 3D screens for multiple viewers and 3D video for mobile.

review dividing line BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic Future

The BBC R&D team have been working closely with R&D teams across the world on all aspects of 3D TV from capture, postproduction, and coding, to transmission and end-user terminals. In the BBC’s 3D-TV R&D Activities in Europe white paper released last night by Oliver Grau, Thierry Borel, Peter Kauff, Aljoscha Smolic and Ralf Tanger, details of previous and on-going research into 3D for the home and mobile devices are summarised providing a fascinating insight into how 3D entertainment could be consumed in the future.

3D Vivant Logo 300x62 BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic FutureHighlights of the report include 3D VIVANT – a project researching immersive 3D visual and spatial sound experiences without the need for 3D glasses or headphones. The project is designing a 3D ‘Holoscopic’ single aperture camera which will provide real-time capture of 3D scenes. The images will ultimately be displayed on a dedicated 3D display using the principles of holographic geometry for high quality viewing without spectacles. There is a video of a still computer generated 3D holoscopic image on the 3D VIVANT website.

In addition to broadcasting, 3D VIVANT is also developing new applications of 3D Holoscopy for the internet to provide online hyper linking of 3D objects. The project plans to develop a new spatial sound system for a more natural representation of sound fields alongside captured images and playback through loudspeaker arrays in a domestic environment.

Real 3D is a project which aims to overcome the restrictions found in conventional stereoscopic and auto-stereoscopic display technologies, like mismatches between apparent object depth and the observer’s focus distance, by using holography. A 3D holographic acquisition system based on digital camera technology will be developed. The acquisition system will be capable of recording holographic video of the 3D scene. On the display side a 3D holographic display system based on liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology will be developed. The reconstruction system will be capable of displaying holographic video of the 3D scene. For more information about the Real 3D project click here.

laser based 3DTV 300x126 BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic FutureHELIUM3D aims to develop a new glasses free 3D display that solves the problems of current auto-stereo display technology. The project approach is based on direct-view RGB laser projection via a low loss transparent display screen to the viewer's eyes. The display aims to support multiple viewers in a quality that is superior to currently available displays in brightness and colour gamut. The display will also employ viewer and gesture tracking and interaction to maximize the viewing experience. More information can be found here.

skymedia logo BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic FutureSkymedia aims to develop an end-to-end production pipeline for multimedia content taking shots from multiple points of view. An important concept of the project is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the capture of HD and stereoscopic video of live events. The project also aims to develop wireless technology to gather and distribute the content either to mobile devices equipped with stereoscopic displays or to immersive mid-air screens, based on technology developed by FOGSCREEN Inc, who are one of the project partners.

mobile 3d tv BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic FutureMobile 3D-TV is a project aimed at developing 3D TV services for mobile users. Mobile 3D-TV works on optimal formats for 3D video content for mobile usage taking into account the specific requirements in terms of compressibility and rendering efficiency of a small mobile device. Different 3D video representations are being evaluated including two channel stereo video, video plus depth and mixed resolution stereo. In a similar project, the 3DPHONE project aims to develop a prototype 3D mobile phone equipped with an auto-stereoscopic display and multi-camera capture. Furthermore, new user interfaces and applications that make use of the specific 3D capabilities are being investigated. You can find out more information by visiting

i3dlive project logo 300x115 BBC R&D White Paper Details Holographic FutureAnother interesting project relating to 3D TV is the TSB i3DLive project covered by 3D Focus earlier in the year. The project is developing new tools for the extraction of 3D information from live action. The project follows two directions: The project leader ‘The Foundry’ is developing tools that allow the extraction of 3D information from live action using one principal camera with the help of ‘witness’ cameras. A typical application would be on the set of a movie production. In this case the principal camera would be a high-grade film camera and the witness cameras could be video cameras.

This application scenario would allow the production of movie-quality stereoscopic 3D programmes without special stereo rigs.

The second application scenario of i3DLive considers wide-baseline camera configurations and aims to develop 3D processing in real-time (or near real-time) at video frame rate. The wide-baseline arrangement is well-suited to studio set-ups with locked-off cameras. In this configuration fast 3D reconstruction methods can be applied based on the computation of the visual hull. The resulting 3D data can be used to either generate special effects, like free-viewpoint video, or stereoscopic content. In September 2010 the i3DLive project captured two live events as part of a Super High Vision (SHV) test transmission between BBC in London and NHK in Tokyo. The SHV camera, developed by NHK provides a resolution of 7680 x 4320 pixels. The i3DLive project aims to demonstrate the use of the high-resolution camera input for high-quality special effects and stereoscopic content.

These are just highlights from the BBC R&D report which is highly accessible and very interesting for anyone interested in the future of entertainment. To read the full white paper click here.

The SECOND HALF of this video features a visit to the BBC R&D labs where Oliver Grau (one of the contributors of the BBC 3D-TV R&D Activities in Europe white paper) talks about the i3DLive project…