Use of 3-D techniques for virtual production
Virtual production for broadcast is currently mainly used in the form of virtual studios, where the resulting media is a sequence of 2-D images. With the steady increase of 3-D computing power in home PC's and the technical progress in 3-D display technology, the content industry is looking for new kinds of programme material, which makes use of 3-D technology. The applications range from analysis of sport scenes, 3DTV, up to the creation of fully immersive content. In a virtual studio a camera films one or more actors in a controlled environment. The pictures of the actors can be segmented very accurately in real time using chroma key techniques. The isolated silhouette can be integrated into a new synthetic virual environment using a studio mixer. The resulting shape description of the actors is 2-D so far. For the realisation of more sophisticated optical interactions of the actors with the virtual environment, such as occlusions and shadows, an object-based 3-D description of scenes is needed. However, the requirements of shape accuracy, and the kind of representation, differ in accordance with the application. This contribution gives an overview of requirements and approaches for the generation of an object-based 3-D description in various applications studied by the BBC R&D department. An enhanced Virtual Studio for 3-D programmes is proposed that covers a range of applications for virtual production.
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