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DVD Player Displays 2D Movies in 3D 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the and-i'm-sure-it-looks-swell dept.
Anonymous Writer writes "A company called Dynamic Digital Depth that wants to bring 3D television and movies to the mainstream claims to have developed a system that allows you to watch current 2D DVDs in 3D. They claim the TriDef DVD Player uses image analysis methods, developed by the company for their 3D content conversion service, to convert 2D video to 3D in real-time based on 3D depth cues in the original movie. It is the same company that produced the TriDef Movie Player software for the Sharp Actius R3D3 autostereo display notebook. "
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DVD Player Displays 2D Movies in 3D

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  • I wonder (Score:5, Funny)

    by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@NOspaM.remco.palli.nl> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:08PM (#9248857)
    if this will be succesfull The idea sounds cool though. Maybe even more cool for the porn fans out there :) (You know who you are)
  • 3D? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mz6 (741941) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:09PM (#9248863) Journal
    Hmmm.. so what happens if I watch Spy Kids:3D [imdb.com] on this? Will it upconvert me to 4D?
  • Dubious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shimmer (3036) <brianberns@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:10PM (#9248875) Homepage Journal
    I haven't RTFA, but I'm dubious about this claim. There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image. If there were, your brain would already do it (and, in fact, already does to a limited extent). I don't see how computer technology is going to improve on what your brain can already do.
    • I guess the bigger question is do we want it to put it in 3D when our brain already does.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bestguruever (666273)
      I won't believe it until I see it either, but it does seem possible to a limitted degree. What I imagine this as is using stereo seperation to enhance the existing depth cues.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sinrakin (782827) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#9249089)
      The principle seems straight forward enough. You don't have enough 3D info in a single frame, but you have lots of frames. So as objects move, or the camera pans, you can tell by their apparent positional shift how far from the observer they are. Assuming the software can recognize and track some basic objects, it can make reasonable inferences about their depth into the scene. How it then displays the depth is another issue.
      • Re:Dubious (Score:5, Insightful)

        by varaani (77889) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:43PM (#9249364)
        Not really that reasonable. If you look at the results of current optical flow and disparity estimation algorithms, they're really not that great. Discontinuities of the image (edges) are a huge problem, as is the whole top-down/bottom-up/gestalt-ordeal, and these have not been solved in any satisfactory manner.

        To reconstruct the 3D scene generating the 2D images is effectively to solve vision, in its entirety. In real time, no less. So I would guess that they're doing something quite simple. I'd love to see it, but the information on the site is quite scarce. I'm just hoping that someone is not manually pulling the strings behind the scenes.
        • Re:Dubious (Score:3, Funny)

          by pipingguy (566974)

          To reconstruct the 3D scene generating the 2D images is effectively to solve vision, in its entirety. In real time, no less. So I would guess that they're doing something quite simple.

          They're putting drop-shadows on objects in the foreground.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moviepig.com (745183) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#9249094) Homepage
      There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image.

      There's plenty of info to construct a 3D-image. There's just not enough to construct the 3D-image.

      Part of the bizplan likely involves consumers not caring.

    • TrueForm TM (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dnoyeb (547705) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:27PM (#9249128) Homepage Journal
      Yep, and we know how well ATi's TrueForm(TM) works even when it has 3D data.

      Automatically changing 1 thing to another without information is impossible. You must know enough about it (have enough prior information) to make resonable assumptions about how it should look. I suspect this technology is about 30 years away. Right along side face recognition.

      Equally unbelieveing.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hype7 (239530)

      I haven't RTFA, but I'm dubious about this claim. There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image. If there were, your brain would already do it (and, in fact, already does to a limited extent). I don't see how computer technology is going to improve on what your brain can already do.

      What's going to be really fun is when their analysis gets it wrong, and puts something from the background "up close" in the 3d world, and vice versa. It'll be like watching a movie in a 3D version

    • Re:Dubious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:33PM (#9249219) Homepage Journal
      "I haven't RTFA, but I'm dubious about this claim. There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image."

      There is, kind of. Ever see those purple/orange glasses? There's an episode of Married With Children that was filmed to take advantage of those glasses. Thing is, you can't tell they filmed it that way if you're not wearing the glasses. It's not like the red/blue glasses that make a nauseating dual pattern on the screen. It looks like regular footage. I'm not 100% certain how they work, but I think they key off the highlights of the actors/objects they filmed. If I'm right, then most movies would be succeptible to this as fairly standard lighting creates those highlights. If that is right, then you could fake depth via an image processor.

      Take what I'm saying with a grain of salt here, I'm using a lot of 'ifs'.
      • Re:Dubious (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mwongozi (176765) <(gro.revolgdivad) (ta) (eerhthsals)> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:20PM (#9249792) Homepage
        That type of 3D exploits an optical illusion. With the glasses on, one eye sees a darker image than the other eye, although both eyes are receiving a full colour image.

        Because one eye is receiving less light, it takes longer for your brain to process the information coming from it. By the time it has, it is combined with the information being processed from the other eye. Because of the disparity in processing times, the two images combined are a short amount of time apart.

        Thus can be exploited by rotating the camera around an object. By the time one eye has processed it's image, the camera has moved slightly, and the other eye processes its image quicker. This, the disparity in angles created a 3D image.

        It only works when the camera is moving around an object in the right direction. As soon as it stops, the scene will look flat again, although you may think you are still perceiving depth because you brain remembers the previous depth information.
    • by mpe (36238)
      I haven't RTFA, but I'm dubious about this claim. There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image. If there were, your brain would already do it (and, in fact, already does to a limited extent). I don't see how computer technology is going to improve on what your brain can already do.

      Especially given that human brains have a vast amount of "world knowlage" to draw on.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:42PM (#9249349) Homepage Journal
      Actually quite a lot of work has been done in generating polygonal geometry from entirely two dimensional information. If the subject rotates you can get an awful lot of info just by picking out points, recognizing them as they move across the screen, and tracking their relations. This of course is nontrivial, and the subject of much debate at siggraph. I am not a graphics programmer type, but a friend of mine (well he was a friend before he loaned out some of my shit to someone who lost it, failed to replace it, and then disappeared anyway, now he's just this guy I used to know) is and he had amassed quite a bit of literature on the subject.

      Presumably they're doing the lightweight version of this, generating a more or less accurate height field from the results (geometry is not useful in this case) and then separating the colors based on the height field, giving the illusion of depth. Your brain is capable of figuring out what is or isn't in the foreground (unless deliberately fooled due to nifty camera work and/or CGI) but it doesn't make you think there's depth where there isn't. In most cases that is a feature, because you won't be fooled like Wile E. Coyote and run into a painting at full tilt if you have depth perception available to you. But, it does slightly diminish the entertainment value of video.

    • Re:Dubious (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sklib (26440)
      I didn't RTFA either, but i'm betting that the "3D" algorithm does nothing more than tell what's in the foreground vs what's in the background using optic flow, render the foreground stuff "closer", and render the background stuff "farther", with small holes filled in.

    • I would think technologies that "convert" 2D to 3D could combine a few seperate methods to achieve this:

      1) Detect focus. Most films and TV shows operate on the basic rules that the actors/items in the foreground are in focus, and the background is in varying degrees of soft focus. The system could make certain assumptions based on location in the frame and combine that with how "soft" the image is, and use MPEG data to get a good read. (MPEG compressions store "noise/compression" in soft focus-- there mi
      • My point is that your brain already does these things (e.g. use focus and motion cues to provide an illusion of depth). All you're going to do is create a distraction by over-emphasizing these cues.
    • Re:Dubious (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Angostura (703910)
      Have a google on the Pulfrich effect or illusion.

      There is a decent demo here.

      http://dogfeathers.com/java/pulfrich.html [dogfeathers.com]

    • I've Done It (Score:4, Informative)

      by ChrisMaple (607946) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:03PM (#9250329)
      No, not 3D films, but I've made single stereoscopic images from multiple frames from television. A scene in which the camera has transverse motion is best; two frames can easily have the same vantage point spacing as a person's eyes. Motion of the actors works also (if everybody is moving in the same direction.) Good stereoscopic effects can even be achieved when the actor is rotating. The key is to get two different viewpoints for the same object. The effect is dramatically more vivid than anything my brain can devive from 2D television.
    • I haven't RTFA, but I'm dubious about this claim. There simply isn't enough information in a 2D image to construct a 3D image.

      The linked pages don't tell a heck of a lot about how it works.

      There isn't enough information in a single 2D image to construct a 3d image, but there's more information in a series of 2d images, such as a video clip. For example, an object moving through the scene shown covers and uncovers background, so this tells us that object is in front of the background, and the background i

  • 3D always makes me nauseous. Does it come with barf bags?
    • Re:Urp... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jsupreston (626100) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:18PM (#9249003)
      I'd be really interested in this if it were to make it to Imax. Due to my eyesight, the 3D glasses are useless to me...except for giving me one of the worst migraines I've ever had in my life.

      To clarify my situation, I am legally blind in one eye WITH corrective lenses (20/200). The only time I've ever experienced a 3D Imax movie, I was able to see the flickering which I assume is acutally multiple projectors at different refresh rates or something similar to generate the 3D effect. Since my optic nerves didn't know how to handle that kind of image, I got a migraine that lasted for several days.

  • This "extra dimension" must be copywritten; I only paid for two. What should I do about this? Call my lawyer? Oh dear. :(
  • I remember this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iapetus (24050) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:11PM (#9248893) Homepage
    I remember reading about converting 2D movies to 3D when I was at primary school. Since then I've been through secondary school, two university courses and two jobs, and I'm still no closer to being able to watch the things.

    Still, I look forward to being able to read ten years down the line about an amazing new device that can display current 2D movies in 3D.
  • Press Release (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mz6 (741941) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:11PM (#9248894) Journal
    Since Sharp was mentioned.. here is a press release I dug up. Unfortunately, there is no datestamp to indicate when this was posted.

    DDD AND nWAVE PICTURES SIGN DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR 3D CONTENT [sharp3d.com]

  • by welshwaterloo (740554) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:11PM (#9248903)
    tsk.. I think we all know what kind of movies every ./er is thinking of right now..

    Yup.. Hot Linus action... In 3D!!
  • by Joseph Vigneau (514) * on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:12PM (#9248905)
    Has there been an independent review on this technology? I notice all of the links in the story point at the vendor's web site. Until then, call me a skeptic

    Or is this just an ad story?
    • by baxissimo (135512)
      I don't know it's the same one, but a couple of summers ago a company came to the place where I was working and gave a demo of their "revolutionary technology to turn 2D movies into 3D movies". I went to see it. I was spectacularly unimpressed. They were doing something to the edges of moving objects, but whatever it was it wasn't 3D. If you've ever looked at two slightly different images with your two eyes, then you know that sort of shimmery effect where there are differences in the images? Your brai
  • Video Games (Score:4, Funny)

    by millahtime (710421) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:12PM (#9248914) Homepage Journal
    Imagine if this could work for video games.

    That would make Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball all the much cooler to play
    • Re:Video Games (Score:3, Informative)

      by cardshark2001 (444650)
      Imagine if this could work for video games.

      There are a couple of different stereo 3d shutter glasses that work for games on your computer which are already 3d, like quake3 or unreal.

      They work by cutting the effective frame rate in half, and rendering each frame twice from a different perspective, and flashing the image into each eye on alternate frames.

      Not sure if I explained that very well, but I've seen the "Revelator" (now defunct) in action, and I must say the results, while not perfect, are ver

      • There's a standard for these things ("stereographics") that uses a 3-pin mini-din. They're LCD shutter goggles as you say. The only problem with them really is that the flicker gets pretty noticeable. The higher your refresh rate, the less this will be true, but I don't know what the maximum refresh rate of the glasses is. I think my display will do 640x480 at 120Hz or something, if I had those glasses that's probably how I would play (and with antialiasing also) assuming the glasses could keep up.
  • what does it add? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trix_e (202696) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:13PM (#9248924)
    I can't imagine what this would actually add to the viewing experience. It's a novelty at best, and a distraction from the experience as it was originally intended at worse.

    I remember going to see "Jaws 3D" when it came out when I was in high school. After the first floating fish went by and you got over the urge to reach out and try to grab it... well you had 2 more hours of that. woo hoo.

    Who cares?
    • I have to agree. Maybe if a movie was specifically shot FOR 3D but appart from that, why? Godfather in 3D, Jackie Brown in 3D - what the hell does that give us?
      I'm not talking about pr0n here, obviously. ;-)
      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:47PM (#9249418) Homepage Journal

        I'm not talking about pr0n here, obviously.

        Obviously. Every porn movie is "shot" for 3D. So to speak.

      • Re:what does it add? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Boglin (517490)
        How about Hitckcock's Dial M for Murder? It was originally shot with 3D in mind. From what I've heard from people that actually saw it in 3D, it really does add to the film and isn't just used for cheap novelty.

        If this kind technology actually takes off, it might encourage serious directors to use it. Since it won't be visible in the theater, it won't be the cheap novelty that they usually do, but they might keep in mind how it will look in 3D on the DVD.

      • Re:what does it add? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rob Parkhill (1444)
        Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

        This movie was meant to be seen in 3D. Watch it again some time and notice just how many times something comes flying right at the screen or pokes out at you.

        A friend SWEARS that he saw a pre-release/test screening of Raiders in 3D when he lived in Albuquerque. Watching the movie again, imagining that it was supposed to be in 3D, I kinda believe him.

    • by swerk (675797)
      At first, motion pictures themselves were a novelty. Synchronized sound, color, wider viewing area, hell, even cut perspective changes and camera motion -- all these were novelties. They added another dimension (sorry, sorry!) to film, enhancing the experience and growing to lose their novelty status. Rather than films that served only to show "look, you hear my voice while you see my lips move!" or "look, bright colors everywhere!" those things just became standard filmmaking tools.

      Time will tell wheth
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:16PM (#9248969) Homepage Journal
    I've always been a 3D freak - I've played Anaglyph 3-d Quake [iprimus.com.au], I collect stereograms [eyetricks.com] and routinely watch documentaries in 3-D IMAX [neaq.org].

    I'm also firmly believe that VR and 3D displays are the Next Big Thing (TM) - atleast I hope it is. So I say more power to Sharp, DDD and other folks who're trying to make my dream a reality.

    On the other hand, I'm not convinced by their "image analysis" based on depth cues:

    hey claim the TriDef DVD Player uses image analysis methods, developed by the company for their 3D content conversion service, to convert 2D video to 3D in real-time based on 3D depth cues in the original movie.

    As far as I can see converting current 2D media to 3D would require a great deal of human intervention - there's only so much that you can glean from image analysis (possibly hidden edges, object sizes and other CG cues). The bottom line is that it would take a human to tell if which of the two objects on the screen are supposed to be closer to the viewer. That alone IMHO would kill any efforts to bring this to the mainstream media business - it would be more fruitful to focus on cheaper/better techniques to create new 3D media.

    • If you are talking about a still frame, then real 3D seems as hard as you suggest.

      But in a movie, the camera is moving pretty often, as are objects in a scene. If you look at a number of frames in a row you can get a pretty good idea of depth by how things move in relation to each other, or by natural reotation of an object (liek a person turn thier face).

      All the DVD player needs to do is "read ahead" as it were to figure out what depth objects should have in a given scene. I'm sure there are all sorts
    • VR? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Quarters (18322) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#9250151)
      I'm also(sic) firmly believe that VR and 3D displays are the Next Big Thing (TM)

      The early 1990's called. They want their overused hype back.

  • Having another 8 bits of information for depth. You could then do this easily. Not sure how the hell you'd capture that info though.
    • It is possible.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by StacyWebb (780561)
      to capture the information based on filters. This filter would "pre" read the clip information and then convert the "blurry" or background images and then move the primary "focal point" image further towards the "front" of the clip.
    • Would that work with current tech though? Wouldn't it just be easier to have two adjacent cameras filming the scene from 2 locations, and just have a player which uses these tracks to create images for your right and left eyes?
  • stop the insanity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MasTRE (588396)
    Can someone shed some light on this subject? This to me seems like the perpetual-motion machine. Some company always claims you will see in 3D w/o using glasses. Is this theoretically possible? I mean without actually recreating a 3D scene in front of you, is it theoretically possible for a 2D device to make you see in 3D w/o any special apparatus that you put in front of your eyes? It seems like the holy grail of 3D.
    • Yes this is possible. All you need to do is make sure that each eye sees a different image, which is *possible* without glasses.

      All the techniques i'm aware of do depend on a very particular viewer location though.
  • Re: 3d (Score:4, Funny)

    by leenoble_uk (698539) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:20PM (#9249022) Journal
    Looks flat on my monitor. This is crud.
    Just like all those digital HDTVs they keep advertising on telly. They look no better picture wise than my 14" portable.
    • You are kidding, right?

      I was skepical myself of how "great" HDTV could be until I was at walmart by some off chance, and they had an HDTV program on this time rather then a regular signal... and it ... was... amazing. Much more so then I had seen before... thought before.

      If you really have that opionion, then you havent REALLY experienced HDTV yet.
  • Requires display? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unnngh! (731758) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:22PM (#9249071)
    From browsing through the site, it would appear [ddd.com] that this requires a special 3D display to work properly. So it looks like yet another stereoscopic display algorithm for converting 2d images into split frames for each eye, but designed to work without the stupid glasses or heavy goggles.

    I'd be more interested to see how the 3d display work, myself.

  • And this is new? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:23PM (#9249073)
    I worked on a system like this for broadcast TV and VHS tapes back in the mid '90s. Consumers didn't want stereoscopic 3D then and I doubt they want it now.
  • Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JMZero (449047) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:24PM (#9249085) Homepage
    If 3d was impressive enough to sell lots of units, they'd still be making lots of 3d movies. They aren't, because the technology for displaying 3d is still not impressive enough nor widely spread. Once there is truly impressive 3d displays that can be widely deployed, the content will come naturally.

    As an aside, I'd love to see Pixar render out a version of Finding Nemo for IMAX 3D - I think it'd be amazing, and would be a relatively small cost. If it was a success, they could do their whole catalog.
    • by mpe (36238)
      If 3d was impressive enough to sell lots of units, they'd still be making lots of 3d movies. They aren't, because the technology for displaying 3d is still not impressive enough nor widely spread.

      There's also the difficulty that the shooting needs to be specifically planned for 3D. Otherwise there is a risk of the result looking silly or even inducing motion sickness.
      • A lot of these problems have been solved naturally with:

        1. Using CGI for special effects rather than physical entities who's actual characteristics need to be hidden.
        2. More use of on-location shooting (rather than sets designed to be filmed from one angle)

        3d gives more information. As long as this information is there, this isn't a problem. You're definitely correct in noting the potential problem - but I think it's very solvable.
  • by CatPieMan (460995) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:27PM (#9249127)
    IF this technology comes to market, I could imagine some anime people thinking it would be fun to play around with this and make things look all weird (so that the background is right in your face, while the foreground is far away - or a person whose leg is near you, but whose face is far and have objects pass each other in ways that would look fine in 2D but would look weird in 3D).

    In short, this could bring us a whole new world of experimental film. Interesting, if true.

    -CPM
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:30PM (#9249184) Homepage
    OK, I'm curious to see it--but I don't believe a word of it. My brain is capable of converting 2D presentations into 3D using depth cues. I suspect my brain is better at it than their software is. And that wherever their software falls short, there will be an intense mental irritation factor.

    In the fifties, a sound engineer whose name escapes me devoted a _lot_ of effort to applying electronic filtering to add a stereo effect to Toscanini's recordings, with the idea that he was preserving them for posterity. Toscanini's recordings and reputation have survived, but it's noteworthy that all the CD remasterings are in mono.

    I don't think I've seen any upsurge of interest in "colorized" black-and-white movies, either.

    I would expect automatic 3D to suffer from the same issues as colorizing: problems at the edges where things are entering the frame, problems with things that are in the background and hence out of focus, scenes that consists of thousands of moving objects (crowds, tree leaves flexing in the wind, sunlight glancing off rippling water) where the cues are imprecise and the computational effort needed to track thousands of objects is intense...
  • More detail (Score:4, Informative)

    by Overt Coward (19347) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:32PM (#9249212) Homepage
    Article containing more info [digitmag.co.uk]

    Choice quote:

    But the result isn't quite like viewing something truly filmed in 3D. Most of the 3D effects are "from the screen backwards, (with) no off-the-screen effects," Harman says. This could be a disappointment to aficionados of 1950s guilty-pleasure flicks, who know that the whole point of watching a 3D movie is to see various objects (mostly monsters) popping out of the screen.
    • In 3D films, the directors can make it look like stuff is popping out of the screen, and certainly they do, but really they shouldn't. Every time they do that particular trick you basically have to go cross-eyed to see it correctly, and doing it much causes eye strain.

      Better to use 3D more naturally and converge at screen depth. The effect still looks fresh and real, and the audience doesn't get a splitting headache after a while.

      Incidentally, some 3D films have been almost entirely filmed so the picture
  • by Roger_Wilco (138600) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:33PM (#9249224) Homepage
    Binocular disparity only works out to a few metres distance. Beyond that you use different cues. Consider some papers by my supervisor, for example: A laminar cortical model of monocular and binocular interactions in depth perception [journalofvision.org], Neural Dynamics Of 3-D Surface Perception: Figure-Ground Separation And Lightness Perception [bu.edu]
    • Binocular disparity only works out to a few metres distance. Beyond that you use different cues.

      An amusing exercise is to get hold of a periscope, turn it sideways, and look through it with one eye, thereby effectively increasing the distance between your eyes to a foot or more and enhancing binocular disparity. Watch distant objects leap into dramatic perspective!
  • by Morrisguy (731956)
    Sure I'll be able to watch 3d live-action movies on this thing, but what about hand drawn 2d animation?

    I would assume that the 3d image is generated by comparing the different hues and contrast between pixels or elements in an image. How would this work with animated characters, where most areas are colored in a same uniform color? Would it look like your're looking at a bunch of cardboard cutouts in front of a backdrop?

    Then again, cardboard cutouts pretty much describe most of the characters I see in m
  • Sorry - I just have this image of all the edxecs running around demoing this thing looking like Bill Macy in "The Jerk"...
  • " software for the Sharp Actius R3D3 autostereo display "

    Actually it's RD3D, but damn R3D3 would have been a cool name for that product. Heh.
  • Test image (Score:5, Funny)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:47PM (#9249419)
    I've found a good test
    image [meridian.net.au]
    for this technology.
  • by Kainaw (676073) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:50PM (#9249451) Homepage Journal
    The website blurs the line between discussing the automatic conversion of 2D movies (like the ones I have sitting by my DVD player right now) and 3D movies recorded in a standard 2D format DVD. I have no problem believing that a 3D movie encoded into a standard DVD can be viewed in full 3D. However, I was curious about the 'patented technology', so I went to the USPTO site and read the patent [uspto.gov]. It appears from the patent that the result of conversion from 2D to 3D is that it will take various 'objects' in the 2D image, outline them, and raise them off the screen. I have a strong feeling that you will get a Duke Nuk'em 3D image out of it, not the 3D you'd expect for the price of the 3D monitor and their converter system. I can't see that catching on.
  • by wls (95790) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @12:57PM (#9249529) Homepage
    I stumbled on to this by accident a while back. You're obviously familiar with those stereogram images (look at infinity and a 3D surface emerges from a bunch of "random" dots). The trick is to give each eye different information.

    I wondered, instead of doing this spacially, could one do it temporially? The answer is _YES_.

    Open two copies of QuickTime and load the same movie in each. Put the two windows side-by-side. Now, advance the right one just a few frames (the arrow keys can do it). Then start BOTH running at the same time. (It usually takes a mouse click in one window and a keyboard focus on the other window to get this to happen.)

    Now you have the same movie running side-by-side, although one is just a little off from the other.

    No cross your eyes and produce an overlay of the two images. Obviously, smaller frames are easier on the eyes. Eventually your eyes will focus on the overlap, just as it does with the posters, and you can easily hold focus.

    Surprise -- the movie has DEPTH. It's in 3D.

    The only thing I can figure is that each eye gets a little different signal, and your brain has to piece the information together; when it does, you get 3D.

    Normally you can use the red-blue glasses, sterograms, or hidden patterns in dots to do this. You can also get a similar effect by watching television with one eye closed (you're taking cues based on shadows and such), or, by having one eye look through a darkened filter. Not sure why that happens, but I suspect the difference between the left and right eye kick in the extra steps that trick the brain.
  • to take the red and green pixels and move them slightly off a bit like a real 3D movie does. The shadows and other details will be seen as 3D.

    I recall that there was photo editing software that did this to 2D picture images, so it is possible to do it to a 2D movie in real-time should the CPU be fast enough to do it.

    To quote that Wendy's lady from the 1980's "Where's the beef?" I searched those sites and could not even find a demo! Is it vaporware or real?
  • Sounds like the 3D projection we saw in Minority Report, where subjects pop out of the scenery.
  • Another VisuaLABS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wash23 (735420) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:37PM (#9250016)
    Reminds me of the VisuaLABS scandal [wired.com]. This guy fooled investors and squandered millions of dollars on his revolutionary 3D television which was nothing but an off-the-shelf large screen TV with a couple of lines etched into it and some camera tricks to give the illusion of depth. The founder (Sheldon Zelitt) was a bit of a wacko - spent his time in his inventor's studio playing with "optics" - which usually meant doing bizarre and childish things like gluing magnifying glasses to pennies with superglue (I made up that example, but you get the idea). I think he also once wooed investors with a parabolic mirror [optigone.com] magic trick which I guess none of them had ever seen. More info here [upfrontezine.com].
  • I still don't think it's a good idea. Much like colorizing black & white movies, this is changing a movie beyond what the original director ever intended. Even if you're not a purist about this sort of thing, the results would probably still be lousy because it was never in the directors mind in the first place.
  • by lildogie (54998) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:09PM (#9250402)
    Directors will complain that 3D-izing violates their artistic integrity.

    "My movie was written and directed for the flat screen!"

    yada yada yada
  • by shirai (42309) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @02:27PM (#9250616) Homepage
    Well, there are a lot of reasons but one that many don't know about is this.

    But first a bit of background.

    I was actually able to see a prototype of a (very low powered) laser that draws an image onto your retina. This was like maybe 5 years ago and it was the size of a full size freezer.

    By looking into something that is quite similar to a viewfinder attached to the said freezer sized prototype, you could see an image. The cool part, is that you don't actually need a background "black" and hence the image can float in the air for you while you look at other things. They predict this device could be stuck on a pair of glasses (or sunglasses) in the future ala terminator overlay style. Yes, I saw it work but at the time it was the huge prototype.

    I know how regular 3D works with one image to the left and one image to the right. But one of the big problems is that your eye cannot FOCUS on the image because to you an image might look like it is close to your face (via the left/right eye difference) but the actual image is far back where the screen is. This disparity causes you to feel nauseous. But a laser (and they hadn't done this yet) could modulate to place the image focally where it's supposed to be.

    To make this more clear, if I drop a pebble in a pond, the curve of the ripple is different when I am near the drop point (very curved) compared to when I am far away (almost linear). In real life, the curve of the things you look at are all different based on how close/far they are. In 3D MOVIES, the line is always the same shape but your brain is interpreting it as either closer or farther (or is trying to anyways). Whamo. Instant headaches and nausea because your brain is having trouble figuring out what you are actually seeing the object.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    According to the patent: (USPTO#) 6,477,267

    The displacement of the mesh sub-points may also be defined by a mathematical algorithm to thereby provide for automatic conversion of images. Further enhancements to the method could be to add shadow, blurring and motion interpolation data to the conversion data including force paralex information and field delay and direction for motion paralex delays.

    Check out the patent for a full explanation of the technology.
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @06:29PM (#9253557) Homepage
    Some years ago, there was an episode of "That's Incredible" on which was displayed a system that showed 3D on regular TVs, without glasses, and the crazy thing was that you could close one eye, and still see the 3D effect! It was a box, that sat between the camera and the recording/broadcast equipment, and the resulting image was interesting, but it worked!

    The image shown would "vibrate", it moved wonky, but there definitely was depth to the image. You could record the image, and play it back, and it was still there - a form of 3D that required no changes in broadcast or recording equipment, no glasses needed to view, and no special viewing system to watch - in short, it allowed 3D to be created by anyone, to be viewed by anyone (as long as they had one working eyeball!), on any standard video equipment. I have never seen this technology demonstrated anywhere else, nor did the company which presented its work (along with video clips that were fun to watch) go on to produce these boxes for sale - the technology and the company just seemed to "vanish" (is it any wonder?).

    The closest I have been able to find about how this technology works can be seen here [well.com]. Please note that the site has "not safe for work" imagery on it...

    This site's images, along with another poster's (below) comments about "temporal 3D" via running two movies out of sync, basically gives me a clue as to what they were originally doing:

    I believe (now) that the box was somehow delaying the signal, every other frame, then interpolating those frames in/among the regular video frames and sending them down the wire. This isn't a very good explanation - basically, they were doing a combination of the temporal viewing with the "flicker GIF" of two stereo views (but without stereo, just time between the two frames) to generate the image. At the time, it must have been really expensive (for the RAM to buffer the image, etc) - although I wonder if they could have been de-interlacing frames and sending/reconstituting the frames by double-lacing the de-interlaced frames to make up the lost pixels, then showing each one (because each field of the frame would be out of sync by 1/15 second - maybe enough time to do the temporal 3D? - and it wouldn't require more than simple electronics rather than RAM buffering).

    Aside from the flicker 3D images on the web (ie, those two different angle 3D animated GIF's like I noted above) - does anybody else remember seeing that episode of "That's Incredible", or anything else about the device? The episode was on in the mid-1980's or so...

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