Imcube to announce home and mobile 2D to 3D conversion tools

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During MIPTV in April, 2D to 3D conversion specialists imcube will announce new low cost 2D to 3D conversion services designed specifically for the home and mobile markets.

review dividing line Imcube to announce home and mobile 2D to 3D conversion tools

imcube logo Imcube to announce home and mobile 2D to 3D conversion toolsAccording to the Berlin based R&D company “The number of 3D TV, cable and internet channels is growing globally each month, without the availability of 3D programming being able to keep up. The requirements for 3D on small display sizes differ substantially from the requirements for large cinema or IMAX screens. This is reflected in the number of depth layers, the number of segmented objects per frame, the picture resolution and the colour depth. These reductions lead to less manual work input in the conversion process, while maintaining the same impression of quality for the viewer that he would have in a cinema environment.”

Quality conversion is very expensive and has typically only been applied to theatrical releases and even then, the quality of conversions has varied dramatically. The Titanic 3D conversion, to be released next month, has reportedly cost $18 million to convert in a painstaking frame by frame process. Typical rates for conversion can cost about $100,000 per minute. At that rate, a 52 minute television programme would cost $5.2 million to convert, a price which would not make commercial sense. In July last year, CBS were trialing the conversion of some of the shows in its back catalogue using DDD’s conversion technology but there are still limited options for affordable but quality conversion for the home entertainment sector.

Imcube hope to change that with a low cost, stripped down version of its existing conversion tool imcube Cinema called imcube Home. The part manual/part automatic service will make conversion available from $2000 per minute based on the lowest price level.  Imcube Cinema's three stage process of manual rotoscoping, manual depth assignment and manual inpainting (clean-plate creation and/ or stereo painting) are extremely labour intensive and need high precision but imcube claim to have developed a software framework and workflow that is able to convert 2D content efficiently and artefact-free from 2D into 3D at a price point suitable for television.

The workflow consists of precise segmentation of objects and of many automatic processes to assign accurate depth to flat 2D objects (3D object shaping). The workflow also includes the inpainting of disoccluded regions in the background. Compared to imcube Cinema for theatrical releases, the number of segmented object layers is reduced in the imcube home conversion process but in order to ensure high quality and to meet the requirements of clients, stereographers are involved in the production flow.

Imcube have split their home conversion service into three levels with the prices reflecting the quality of the results…

Level A, which costs between $9,000 to $10,000 per minute offers…
1st pass: Operator sets depth per scene and identifies & applies algorithms
Roto and paint for shots needed
2nd pass: Stereographer correction
2 additional passes: Client gets finesse with Stereographer

Level B, which costs between $5,000 to $6,000 per minute offers…
1st pass: Operator sets depth per scene and identifies & applies algorithms
Minor roto and paint for shots needed
2nd pass: Stereographer correction
1 additional pass: Client gets finesse with Stereographer

Finally, the lowest cost Level C, which is $2,000 to $3,000 per minute. offers…
Algorithm based operator pass
Minor roto for shots needed
Stereographer Clean-up for viewing comfort

Imcube will also be offering an even more stripped down version of imcube Home designed for 3D conversion for mobile and tablet devices. Imcube Mobile, will offer 2D to 3D conversion services for between $500 to $1500 per minute based on a similar three level price/quality structure as imcube Home.

For more information visit www.imcube.com

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