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3ality Digital demonstrates end-to-end production system for stereoscopic 3D

3Flex production technology harnesses advanced mathematics to make shooting and post fast and foolproof

3ality Digital, a world leader in advanced technologies to empower creative digital stereoscopic 3D (S3D) acquisition, has highlighted its unifying system that automatically provides consistent, controllable and stable S3D images from acquisition to delivery at IBC together with Grass Valley and Alfacam. The software algorithms of 3Flex are implemented in its shooting rigs, its stereoscopic image processors (SIPs) and in post production tools.

With 3Flex and its underlying advanced mathematics, it is possible to provide the level of precision required to establish and maintain the desired effect. An error of as little as five pixels, which would be typical of alignment by eye, will cause eyestrain with the viewer, and potentially more significant discomfort and health issues. It is practical to achieve sub-pixel accuracy with 3Flex.

“Other people talk about five visual cues for depth: stereopsis, convergence, parallax, occlusion and perspective,” explained Steve Schklair, CEO of 3ality Digital. “Our research shows that this is an inadequate description of the psycho-visual mechanisms of stereoscopic 3D. We have identified at least 24 depth cues.”


“In order to describe them, and understand their effects and interactions, our designers found conventional Euclidean geometry was inadequate,” he continued. “Drawing on earlier research and modelling the processes in Riemann spatial differential geometry, we have achieved a far greater understanding and, much more important, we have implemented a far more sophisticated level of control.”

This control is installed in 3Flex, the unifying production software. For example, a 3ality Digital stereo camera rig will be linked to a SIP to allow continual real-time adjustments to all of the axes of movement. This total geometry management ensures complete consistency in the impression of depth, which in turn leads to a more stable, more immersive viewer experience.

“The overwhelming conclusion is that it is really important to get the geometry perfect when you are shooting: if you do not understand the complexities of the issue you might make some adjustments in post which adversely affect other parameters,” Schklair added. “On the other hand, 3Flex is also important in post production, for instance in ensuring that visual effects match the background plates perfectly.”

“This is a complex subject – more complex even than most stereographers understand,” he added. “We are focussing on 3Flex at IBC2010 because it gives us the chance to explain the subject in some detail, as part of our mission to shine a light on some of the mysteries surrounding stereoscopic 3D.”


About 3ality Digital

3ality Digital develops enabling technologies to power live-action stereoscopic 3D (S3D) entertainment from image capture through presentation, independent of viewing environment. 3ality Digital’s camera platforms, stereo image processing systems and S3D image scaling technologies are quickly earning a reputation as the “gold standard” for the emerging medium and are rapidly being adapted by broadcasters, production companies, studios and consumer electronics manufacturers. 3ality Digital’s systems are optimised to handle the demands of live S3D broadcast, offering such must-haves as fast set-up, perfectly aligned zooms, accurate imagery right from the camera and automation that reduces the number of required production personnel.
3ality Digital technology has powered a number of live-action firsts including U2 3D, the first movie shot completely in live-action S3D; the first live S3D broadcast of an NFL game (Raiders vs. Chargers, December 4th, 2008); the first live S3D sports broadcast available to consumers, including the 2009 BCS Championship Game, BSkyB’s landmark Manchester United vs. Arsenal soccer broadcast and the first network hockey telecast ever produced in S3D (New York Rangers vs. Islanders, March 24th 2010 on MSG); the first S3D commercial broadcast on television (Sobe “Lizard Lake”); and the first episode of a scripted television serried shot in live-action S3D (Chuck vs. The Third Dimension, aired on NBC on February 2nd, 2009).

3ality Digital