Project: Workflow and tools for stereoscopic TV programme production

The S3D TV Pipeline project will research, develop and test the technologies needed to build a robust, flexible and efficient pipeline for the capture (shooting), postproduction, checking, verification and correction of stereoscopic video on an industrial scale. It will create a processing chain and tools, based on a flow of persistent metadata, to support the highly automated and in many cases real-time stereo processing and file management. The project will contribute to the development of 3D extensions to the MXF standard._x000D__x000D_Stereoscopic television depends on the capture, processing and transmission of two precisely synchronised image streams, one for the left eye and one for the right, which are displayed and viewed with polarising glasses on a special digital television to give the illusion of three-dimensional depth. Spurred by the commercial success of ‘3D’ in the cinema, the TV industry is rushing to introduce stereoscopic 3D (S3D) TV. Manufacturers predict that within three years 40% of all TV sets sold will be ‘3D ready’ and the first 3D broadcast channels to the home are starting in 2010. There are, however, no established procedures for making S3D TV programmes. 3D movies are made ad hoc, at great cost, by large teams of expert specialists, who are largely inventing techniques as they go along. TV broadcasters need to make much more programme material, much faster, at a much lower cost. There are numerous unresolved issues arising from the involvement of live streams, pre-recorded and graphic data that will cause serious problems in stereo. Many of the tools and facilities used in 2D are either not available for S3D, or need careful supervision and skilful operator intervention, and there is enormous scope for error due to a lack of standard practices. _x000D__x000D_Broadcast television has been built around streaming video and audio, as the natural way of delivering live information, but computer systems essentially process and exchange data in the form of files. As the broadcast industry becomes digital, and the performance of commodity computing increases, many companies are switching from videotape-based TV production to file-based production methods. _x000D__x000D_Digital production, postproduction and broadcast involve an enormous range of processes, formats and file types. The industry has in consequence created the MXF wrapper file format as a means of exchanging programme material in different forms between different processes, bundling together video, audio, subtitles, captions and text – the ‘essence’ – together with descriptive metadata. The package of content and metadata is interoperable between streaming and file-based environments, and readable across computer platforms. The introduction of file-based methods and MXF has required the solution to a range of workflow and interoperability problems. S3D TV presents not only a further challenge in engineering and computational complexity but also the opportunity to build a file- and metadata-based workflow that avoids the pitfalls and compromises of legacy tape-based systems. _x000D__x000D_The aim of the project is therefore to define a metadata-enabled pipeline and demonstrate interoperable solutions for critical tasks in S3D TV production of live and post-produced material. This will be achieved through the objectives to:_x000D_• Analyse the S3D TV production chain and define a pipeline model based on persistent metadata, which can be exchanged different processes and tools _x000D_• Define metadata classes, mapped to critical tasks and stages of the S3D TV production chain_x000D_• Develop tools for capturing on-set and camera stereo metadata _x000D_• Develop tools for automated depth management, transcoding, conforming, defect correction, real-time grading and stereo mastering_x000D_• Develop methods of automating the correct depth placement of stereo captions, subtitles and logos _x000D_• Develop tools for S3D MXF file creation to support process interoperability, and _x000D_• Contribute to the definition of 3D extensions to the MXF standard._x000D__x000D_The Ps are SME manufacturers of digital media technology, who bring together extensive experience across the value chain. P+S Technik is a leading developer of stereo camera rigs; Digital Vision is a specialist in metadata-enabled workflow tools, whose stereo-capable ‘Nucoda’ software is widely used for grading, conforming and finishing film and TV material; Doremi is a developer of video recorders and servers for broadcast, post production and digital cinema with a leading position in S3D technologies; Starfish specialises in file based subtitling; MOG is one of the creators of the MXF standard and a developer of MXF tools. The team will work closely with a non-P user group of stakeholder companies, standards bodies and associations, broadcasters, programme makers and post houses. The Ps will commission sample test sequences and demo material from sub-contracted producers, to test and demonstrate the metadata-based pipeline and tools.

Acronym S3DTV Pipeline (Reference Number: 5965)
Duration 01/02/2012 - 31/03/2014
Project Topic The project will develop and test technologies for robust, efficient and increasingly automated methods for the shooting, postproduction, checking, verification and correction of stereoscopic TV. The outcomes will be a pipeline and processes for S3DTV, tools and extensions to the MXF standard.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 5

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
7 P+S Technik Feinmechanik GmbH Partner Germany
7 Doremi Technologies Partner France
7 Digital Vision Systems Ltd Observer United Kingdom
7 Screen Subtitling Systems Ltd Partner United Kingdom
7 Filmlight Ltd Coordinator United Kingdom
7 Starfish Technologies Ltd Observer United Kingdom
7 Media, Objects and Gadgets - Soluções de Software e Hardware S.A. Partner Portugal