FascinatE Article in Les Echos

Here is a translation of the article published in Les Echos in France on 5th July 2011:

Picture this: you watch a football match on TV. As the action lacks a bit of interest, using your remote control to navigate, live in the stadium: a look at the stands, an overview of the bench, a little bit of zoom on the referee … At any time, you can change your point of view, as easily as if you control the camera from your sofa.

Science fiction? Not at all: it is a European research program entitled “Fascinate” to make fully interactive dissemination of sporting and cultural events. A demonstration was made in London by a team of Technicolor (formerly Thomson), one of the eleven project partners. It brings together companies, including Alcatel-Lucent and the BBC, and research organizations including Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute (HHI), Germany, and Joanneum Research, Austria. Over a period of four years (2010-2013), Fascinate has a budget of 14 million euros, 9.35 million financed by Europe.

The first step was to develop a camera capable of shooting an entire stage in very high resolution. The Omnicam, under development at HHI, includes six HD cameras and a complex set of mirrors to capture a 180 degree panoramic. A first version of the camera is already running, but provides HD images six individual which must then be assembled. “The composition of the final image request of many calculations. Fraunhofer HHI teams working on hardware and software that will perform these calculations in real time. A first version should be available in September, “said Georg Thallinger, Fascinate coordinator and head of a research group at Joanneum Research.

An enormous challenge, especially as the end result will be perfect to immerse the viewer. This is where, among other things, working engineers Technicolor. “Soon, we can achieve real-time by performing some calculations in the” cloud “, or even directly in the case of Internet access of the viewer,” said Gary Donnan, executive vice president for Technicolor strategy, technology and research.

Pan & Scan
The group will also use his image analysis algorithms for the panoramic video is automatically cropped to fit multiple media: very large screens for projections in public, televisions and mobile devices, phones or tablets .

Finally, the project will also work Fascinate to optimize the weight of the images and the network infrastructure. For now, panoramic images require a throughput of 3.73 Gbit / s, six times more than normal HD streams. But with advances in compression and the rise of the fiber, the researchers believe that this technology could happen in homes to 2015-2016 … provided that deceive content producers and operators.



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