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System and method for adaptive scalable dynamic conversion, quality and processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing of three dimensional media content

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Title: System and method for adaptive scalable dynamic conversion, quality and processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing of three dimensional media content.
Abstract: The present invention is directed to a system and method for providing 3D content-centric solutions that greatly improve the quality and impact of 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary 3D media playback and display solutions, thus maximizing the 3D experience produced therefrom. The novel system and method accomplish these goals by providing modular unifying scalable 3D content-centered solutions, preferably implemented in a configurable infrastructure, that improve the quality and impact of any 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary playback and display solutions. The inventive system and method advantageously enable automatic, semi-automatic or user-controlled selective performance of 3D content processing and/or settings/parameter configuration at one or more components of the infrastructure, and in at least one embodiment thereof, the inventive system and method are capable of determining and implementing selective or optimal storage, transmittal, and application(s) of 3D content processing/settings/parameter/profile configuration(s) prior to, or during, display of corresponding 3D content media to one or more viewers thereof. ...


Browse recent 3d Fusion Inc. patents - New York, NY, US
Inventors: Stephen Blumenthal, Ilya Sorokin, Edmund Mark Hooper
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120105439 - Class: 345419 (USPTO) - 05/03/12 - Class 345 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120105439, System and method for adaptive scalable dynamic conversion, quality and processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing of three dimensional media content.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present patent application is a continuation-in-part of, and claims priority from, the commonly assigned co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/642,757 entitled “System and Method For Adaptive Scalable Dynamic Conversion, Quality and Processing Optimization, Enhancement, Correction, Mastering, And Other Advantageous Processing of Three Dimensional Media Content”, filed Dec. 18, 2009, which in turn claims priority from the commonly assigned expired U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/138,926, entitled “System and Method For Adaptive Scalable Dynamic Conversion, Quality and Processing Optimization, Enhancement, Correction, Mastering, And Other Advantageous Processing of Three Dimensional Media Content”, filed Dec. 18, 2008.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to systems and methods for improving the 3D experience provided by playback and display of 3D media content, and more particularly to systems and methods for providing 3D content mediacentric solutions that greatly improve the quality and impact and other desirable features of any 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary 3D media playback and 3D media display solutions, thus maximizing the 3D experience produced therefrom.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various tools for capturing, generating, processing, playing back and displaying three dimensional (3D) content media (especially motion video), have been available for quite some time. Display technologies for 3D content media in particular have evolved quite a bit from the earliest barely passable offerings which required the audience to wear flimsy “glasses” provided with a different (red or blue) lens for each eye, to more advanced electronic “stereoscopic 3D” glasses equipped with remotely triggered liquid crystal display (LCD)-based lenses (acting as alternating individually controlled “shutters”), which provided its wearers with an engaging and quality “3D experience”, given properly prepared 3D content media paired with the appropriate playback and corresponding display technologies working on conjunction with the 3D glasses.

However, this approach for providing a “3D experience” is quite cumbersome and very expensive to use and maintain, and has thus been of very limited commercial success, primarily being relegated to special entertainment venues, such as certain IMAX theaters and high-end amusement parks. In addition to expensive, and relatively fragile, glasses being required for each member of the audience (which in some cases excludes those who cannot comfortably wear them), the latest stereoscopic 3D solutions require sophisticated and expensive computer-based components for storing and processing the 3D content, as well as similarly complex and expensive electronic components for displaying the 3D content and remotely controlling the stereoscopic 3D glasses.

Of course, as is expected, the very limited availability and expense of the above 3D content media playback and display technologies, in particular, have led to a relative lack of interesting 3D content (due to the expense in its creation and the very limited commercial interest therein), which in turn has resulted in a very limited availability of 3D content capture and processing tools, thus essentially resulting in a “vicious cycle”.

Nonetheless, in recent years, there has been a revolutionary leap in the solutions being offered for displaying 3D content media. Specifically, a number of companies, have developed and offered flat panel displays of varying sizes capable of creating a virtual 3D experience for the viewer without the need for the viewer to wear electronic or other types glasses or similar devices. Moreover, these displays do not require other specialized equipment and can work with specially configured 3D content that may be stored on, and played back from, conventional readily available computers. And, while these displays are still quite expensive, they are priced within reach of most organizations (and within reach of some consumers), with the price certainly poised to decrease exponentially, commensurate with an increase in production (as has been the case with the HDTV flat panel display market).

Therefore, for the past several years, ever since these newest stand-alone 3D (“SA-3D”) content media display technologies have become available at relatively reasonable prices, there has been a widespread consensus that proliferation of three-dimensional (3D) content media (both in entertainment and in advertising), as well as of the hardware and software technologies necessary for SA-3D content capture, processing, playback, and display, is inevitable, and that the market for 3D-related technologies will experience explosive growth.

Nevertheless, to date there has not been a dramatic push forward that would make the above predictions become reality. One of the main reasons for this aforementioned lack of the expected proliferation of commercially successful SA-3D-related content, software and hardware offerings, is the fact that although these newest SA-3D content media display technologies have a number of very significant advantages over all previously known 3D-related offerings, they also suffer from a number of flaws. Specifically, on the average, the quality and impact of the 3D experience delivered by the available SA-3D solutions is lower than that of conventional high-end glasses-based stereoscopic 3D offerings. Moreover the relative position of each viewer to the SA-3D screen (in terms of vertical and horizontal viewing angles, distance, etc.) has significant impact on that viewer\'s overall 3D experience when viewing the displayed SA-3D content. Moreover, the existing SA-3D hardware and software solutions for the capture, processing, playback and display of 3D content media have focused on areas of expertise, offer individual and discrete benefits in various narrow aspects of 3D and SA-3D technologies with little or no regard for the offerings of other solution providers, resulting in literally dozens of incompatible proprietary software and hardware products with nothing to tie them together.

It would thus be desirable to provide a system and method directed to one or more modular unifying scalable solutions, preferably implemented in a configurable infrastructure, that greatly improve the quality and impact of any 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary playback and display solutions. It would further be desirable to provide a system and method capable of achieving the above goals by selectively performing 3D content processing and/or settings/parameter configuration at one or more components of the infrastructure from 3D content capture to 3D content media display. It would moreover be desirable to provide a system and method capable of determining and implementing selective or optimal storage, transmittal, and application(s) of 3D content processing/settings parameter/profile configuration(s) prior to display of corresponding 3D content media to one or more viewers thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, wherein like reference characters denote corresponding or similar elements throughout the various figures:

FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of an exemplary embodiment of the inventive scalable modular infrastructure for selectively implementing, configuring, and managing various components of the inventive system for selectively providing adaptive scalable modular functions related to 3D content media capture, generation, quality/processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing and/or configuration;

FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of exemplary embodiments of various components of the inventive system for selectively providing adaptive scalable modular functions related to 3D content media capture, generation, quality/processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing and/or configuration, that may be implemented in the novel infrastructure of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a process flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of the inventive process, that may be performed in whole, or selectively in part, by at least one component of the inventive system of FIG. 2, or that may otherwise be implemented in one or more components of the novel infrastructure of FIG. 1; and

FIGS. 4A-4D are various views of a schematic representation of an exemplary 3D media content volume structure that may be utilized in conjunction with various embodiments of the present invention of FIGS. 1 to 3, and illustrate a varying 3D spatial volume which contains at least one object of interest to the viewer of the 3D media content displayed therein.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a system and method for providing 3D content-centric solutions that greatly improve the quality and impact of 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary 3D media playback and display solutions, thus maximizing the 3D experience produced therefrom. The novel system and method accomplish these goals by providing modular unifying scalable 3D content-centered solutions, preferably implemented in a configurable infrastructure, that improve the quality and impact of any 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary playback and display solutions.

The inventive system and method advantageously enable automatic, semi-automatic or user-controlled selective performance of 3D content processing and/or settings/parameter configuration at one or more components of the infrastructure (from 3D content capture, to 3D content processing (and/or 2D to 3D content conversion), and to 3D content media display), and in at least one embodiment thereof, the inventive system and method are capable of determining and implementing selective or optimal storage, transmittal, and application of 3D content processing/settings/parameter/profile configuration(s) prior to, or during, display of corresponding 3D content media to one or more viewers thereof.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed solely for purposes of illustration and not as a definition of the limits of the invention, for which reference should be made to the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The system and method of the present invention, address all of the disadvantages, flaws and drawbacks of all previously known 3D-related hardware and software offerings, by providing novel 3D content media-centric solutions that greatly improve the quality and impact of any 3D media content, while advantageously decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary 3D media playback and 3D media display solutions, thus maximizing the 3D experience produced therefrom for one or more viewers.

The novel system and method accomplish the above goals by providing modular unifying scalable 3D content-centered solutions, preferably implemented in a configurable infrastructure, that greatly improve the quality and impact of any 3D media content, while decreasing the required levels of computing power, and lowering the complexity of the necessary playback and display solutions.

In various exemplary embodiments thereof, the inventive system and method advantageously enable automatic, semi-automatic or user-controlled selective performance of 3D content processing and/or settings/parameter configuration at one or more components of the infrastructure (from 3D content capture to 3D content media display), and in at least one embodiment thereof, the inventive system and method are capable of determining and implementing selective or optimal storage, transmittal, and application(s) of 3D content processing/settings/parameter/profile configuration(s) prior to display of corresponding 3D content media to one or more viewers thereof.

It should be noted that current 3D media content capture, processing, playback and display solutions take the “lowest common denominator” approach to applying playback/display optimization and related settings (intended to improve the appearance, quality, impact and overall “3-D Experience”) to the 3D content media being displayed to at least one viewer thereof. This is very problematic because the desirable settings and parameters, as well as the necessary processing power and other requirements, for optimizing and maximizing the quality, impact and overall 3-D experience level for any displayed 3D media content, vary greatly between different 3D content media files, and even between different segments/portions within any particular 3D content media file itself. In particular, these variations largely depend on the specific 3D scenes being shown (i.e., on the depicted objects/subjects, their relative motion, complexity, backgrounds, lighting, etc.), and on other external factors, such as the original 3D content capture and/or conversion parameter settings, the capture hardware used, the current display, and even on the viewers\' relative position (orientation, elevation, distance, etc.) thereto.

Finally, prior to discussing the various embodiments of the present invention in greater detail below, it is important to note that while many of the embodiments of the present invention (and the various novel tools, techniques and processes relating thereto), are described and discussed as being implemented and/or utilized in the field of 3D visual entertainment (film, television, games, etc., all embodiments of the inventive system and method, can be readily and advantageously utilized in virtually any scientific, military, medical, forensic, or industrial application based on, or involving 3D visualization or display and/or manipulation of 3D content medial, as a matter of design choice, without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Referring now to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment is shown of an inventive scalable modular infrastructure 10 for selectively implementing, configuring, and managing various components of the inventive system for selectively providing adaptive scalable modular functions related to 3D content media capture, generation, quality/processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing and/or configuration.

The infrastructure 10 includes optional components 12 and 16 (3D content capture system 12, and 3D content processing system 16) for selectively capturing and optionally processing 3D content media prior to placing it into a 3D content media container (e.g., file, stream, etc.). The infrastructure 10 also includes a 3D content media storage/processing/playback SPP system 18, operable to selectively store, process, and/or play back 3D content media from a medial container that may be received from components 12 and/or 16, or that may be delivered from another 3D content media source (such as media converted from another 3D format, or from non-3D content source).

The SPP system 18 preferably communicates with a 3D content display system 24, operable to display 3D content media (in one or more configurations, and capable of displaying/utilizing at least one of: unprocessed 3D content media 20a, processed 3D content media 20b, optimized 3D content setting for use with other 3D media content received from a source outside of the infrastructure 10, etc.) to at least one viewer (e.g., to viewers, 26a-26c).

In at least one embodiment of the present invention, the 3D content processing system 16 may also optionally comprise at least one 3D content processing feature/function that is optimized for utilization in conjunction with the 3D content capture system 12. For example, in one embodiment of the infrastructure 10, the 3D content capture system 12 may actually be a conventional or a modified 3D content capture system, that is provided with additional necessary features (such as scene/visual field depth mapping (or equivalent capabilities) to enable dynamic (and optionally “on the fly”) capture of 2D content, plus sufficient depth (and/or related non-image) information that is sufficient to enable the systems 12 and 16 to produce desirable 3D content for delivery to the SPP system 18. An exemplary embodiment of operation of the infrastructure 10 is discussed in greater detail in conjunction with FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 2, various exemplary embodiments of the possible components of an inventive system 100, that may be implemented in the inventive infrastructure 10 of FIG. 1, operable to selectively provide adaptive scalable modular functions related to 3D content media capture, generation, quality/processing optimization, enhancement, correction, mastering, and other advantageous processing and/or configuration, that may be implemented in the novel infrastructure 10 of FIG. 1. Preferably, one or more of the components (12, 16, 18, and 24), and subcomponents (102 to 114e) of the inventive system 100, are capable of performing one or more steps of an exemplary novel process 200 of FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an exemplary embodiment is shown as a process flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of the inventive process, with steps 202 to 216, that may be performed in whole, or selectively in part, by at least one component of the inventive system 100 of FIG. 2, or that may be implemented in one or more components of the novel infrastructure 10 of FIG. 1.

In summary, the inventive system 100 (through selective operation of one or more components thereof, as may be implemented in infrastructure 10 of FIG. 1), in additional exemplary embodiments thereof, preferably associates at least one predetermined 3D content improvement (“3DCI”) parameter set (optimization, playback, and/or display settings and/or parameters, selection of one or processing modules and/or stages of use thereof (or example during one or more of: capture, post-processing, playback or display), display tool adjustments, etc.), with 3D media content containers.

In at least one embodiment thereof, the optimal 3DCI parameter set comprises a plurality of “static to dynamic” display tools adjustments, which may be advantageously recorded and/or otherwise embedded in the 3D content media file, to thereby become a permanent feature thereof during later playback and/or processing (e.g., post production, etc.) of the 3D content media. In another embodiment of the present invention, the optimal 3DCI parameter set integration technique may also be utilized as a playback feature which is interpreted by a proprietary software and/or hardware 3D media player (which, by way of example can be configured as a “set top box” or equivalent, for 2D to 3D content conversion, playback of “enhanced” 3D content media having an integrated 3DCI parameter set, and for other functions (such as utilization of de-encryption solutions for playback of protected 3D content media.

Advantageously, this association and/or linking, occurs on a scalable basis from the most basic level at which an optimal 3DCI parameter set is associated with one or more corresponding 3D content media containers (that may be in a container directory, a playlist, a queue, or in a similar storage container), such that the appropriate 3DCI parameter set is activated in conjunction with its corresponding 3D content media from the container being played, to a more advanced level at which different 3DCI parameter sets are associated with (or otherwise linked or assigned to), the appropriate different portions of each 3D content media container, such that during playback and/or display thereof, different sections of the displayed content receive the optimal level of “treatment”.

In one exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the above-described techniques may be readily implemented in a media player (e.g., software based or otherwise), operable to process and play back a 3D media content clip, and which is operable to enable an operator thereof to: (1) exercise full control over adjustments to 3DCI parameters on a scalable/variable granularity basis (ranging from a portion of a single content frame to a scene formed from a plurality of sequential frames, and (2) embed various settings and parameters (e.g., even data points of DCT (discrete cosine transform) settings), and automatically imbed them in the 3D media content clip for later optimized playback.

Advantageously, the novel media player is further operable to enable the operator to run a 3D media content clip, stop at a particular frame, apply predefined (e.g., DCT) adjustments and record them in the clip, such that the adjustment is automatically carried forward through the clip until the operator stops at a the next frame which requires a different adjustment, or the clip ends.

The novel system and method advantageously address and cover both the creation/determination/configuration of various scalable 3DCI parameter sets during 3D content capture, during initial processing, at any other time up to and including on-the-fly during playback, or any combination of the above, as a matter of design choice without departing from the spirit of the invention. Similarly, the process of creation/determination/configuration of the 3DCI parameter sets can be wholly or partially automated, or can be manually performed as a “creative process” by one or more content professional, preferably utilizing one or more 3DCI tools and support modules as desired or as necessary.

For example, tools utilizing novel dynamic and adaptive variable 3D depth and layering techniques of the present invention (i.e., Depth Based Image Rendering or “DBIR” techniques), may readily be used for both automated and content professional-directed 3DCI parameter creation (e.g., the 3DCI may include desired depth adjustment parameters, variable layer densities centered on certain displayed objects or object types, dynamic variable resolution based on relative distance of the closest object depth layers to the viewer, etc.).

The 3DCI parameter sets may be linked to, or otherwise associated with the respective 3D content media containers (or portions thereof), and may thus be stored in dedicated or other form of files, containers or libraries, separately from the 3D content media containers, or may be stored within the 3D content media containers, (e.g., embedded therein, as discussed above).

The inventive system 100 (through selective operation of one or more components thereof, as may be implemented in infrastructure 10 of FIG. 1, for example in accordance with the process 200, or otherwise), in various additional exemplary embodiments thereof is operable to provide selective, automatic, or user-controlled dynamic/adaptive/scalable utilization of layered depth measurement/mapping (e.g., DBIR) techniques in 3D content media, coupled with techniques for identifying and spatially (3D) tracking static and moving displayed objects in the depth mapped layered scenes to provide the desired optimal level of at least one predefined aspect of 3D content experience.

In various exemplary embodiments thereof, the system and method of the present invention advantageously comprise the utilization of at least one of (and preferably both) the following novel 3DCI methodologies (that may be implemented utilizing one or more of various suitable 3D content processing techniques): (1) Dynamic Volumetry, and (2) Viewer Perception Enhancement, each described in greater detail below.

When presenting 3D content using a digital display or a projector, the challenge is not only to separate the elements of the content into a spatial continuum ranging from foreground to background, but also to reproduce correctly the viewer perspective that would naturally proceed from the action on screen. This is true for both content originally captured in 3D and for content converted from an original 2D source.

When presented with a visual field containing many objects, the observer will isolate the objects and focus on a specific one or few in order to better interpret the action within the field. The process of separation is based on many criteria/properties such as colour, brightness and relative motion. Once the objects have been separated, the observer\'s primary focus is chosen. Following that choice, a different set of perceptual algorithms is used to track the action within the scene. The centre of interest is maintained in tight focus and other elements of the image which are closer, farther or moving at a different rate are defocused. Thus, in order to improve the 3D effect of any digital display, the system used must not only manage the correct definition of varying spatial relationship between image elements, it must also generate the presentation in accord with the environmental conditions of the display and the perceptual expectations of the viewer.

Essentially, there are two broad categories of activity that take place within any 2D-to-3D video transformation pipeline:

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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120105439 A1
Publish Date
05/03/2012
Document #
13168252
File Date
06/24/2011
USPTO Class
345419
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06T15/00
Drawings
7



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