PassmoreLab has succeeded in creating a prototype 10-camera array specifically designed for the production of live-action content for auto-stereoscopic displays. This groundbreaking multi-camera array presents exciting possibilities for the creation of 3D content, with applications ranging from entertainment to research, education, industrial, and other fields.
Historically, stereoscopic vision has required the use of two cameras to produce a dual stream of inputs - one for the left eye, and one for the right eye. Today, however, a new class of display devices uses more than two channels of video to produce stereoscopic imagery. Several auto-stereoscopic display devices (ASDD) use up to 10 parallel channels of video to generate stereo pairs at various angles across the viewing field of the display device. Because the ASDD is designed to accommodate multiple viewers, who may be seated or crowded around a single flat-panel display, the geometry of the channels are not parallel. This effectively mimics the line of sight for the stereo pair from the virtual object to the viewing audience.
With these factors considered, the camera array designed by PassmoreLab sits on a flexible base, allowing for differing amounts of convergence based upon the ultimate size of the ASDD. For instance, larger displays typically require less angular convergence between the cameras. According to PassmoreLab's Zach Peterson, "The cameras are secured so that they can be adjusted between shots. The radius of the array can be changed depending on the size of and distance to the subject. This allows the user to have more control over the end product." All cameras incorporated within the array utilize a patented system for automated alignment between each unit, as well as an automated system for frame synchronization in time.
The camera array, although created primarily for ASDDs, is also designed with a wide range of applications in mind. As an aid in research, these applications include the use of multiple stereo video channels to assist in the process of depth map creation based on stereoscopic offset, as well as experimentation in the area of synthetic aperture arrays, and the capture of light fields for use in image-based rendering.
PassmoreLab developed this technology in cooperation with 3DH Corporation, which is based in Atlanta, GA. 3DH Vice President of R&D, Brian Lanehart discussed the importance of the multi-camera array in today's rapidly changing tech market, "As an immersive imaging company, we have always remained display agnostic. As the newer generation of auto-stereoscopic displays begin to hit the market, we knew that to stay ahead we must continue to support these displays as well. CGI imagery on these displays is a pretty simple effort, but video is a much more difficult undertaking. We already have demand in the digital signage, entertainment, medical and education industries for these displays which currently outpace manufacturing capacity. Our most significant demand is in advertising and marketing with a lot of requests for video-based content. The multi-camera array we are developing, along with other patentable tools, will enable us to serve this market with video and enable our partners with the same ability." 3DH Corp. will be establishing a product division to begin marketing the technology for use in entertainment and advertising.