Equipment used in FascinatE

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Throughout the duration of the project, there will be a lot of specialist equipment used in order to achieve our objectives. Much of this equipment was used effectively in the first FascinatE test shoot on the 23rd October 2010. Below is a description of some of the major pieces of equipment that have been used to capture the visual and auditory scene with the required detail.

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Omnicam

The Omnicam is a collection of 6 cameras for a 180 degree panorama (or 12 for full 360 degrees) whose video sequences can be combined/stitched together, resulting in a ultra high-resolution video panorama. The HD cameras are placed on their side and point upwards to a reflecting mirror to maximise the resolution such that when each of the  video sequences are stitched together, the resolution of the final panorama is 6984 x 1920.

Features
  • Real-time acquisition and projection of high resolution video panoramas with large field-of-view (FOV),
  • Capturing with flexible rig for up to five HD cameras with FOV of 150 degrees,
  • Full circle rig for up to 12 HD cameras with 360 degree capturing capability,
  • Exhibition with flexible, high-resolution multi-projection system,
  • Based on CineCard PCI-card that supports up to four projectors per board (and up to 16 projectors per PC),
  • Unlimited cascading in both vertical and horizontal direction,
  • Immersive viewing experience that feels like “being there”.

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Eigenmike

The MH Acoustics em32 Eigenmike® microphone array is a 32 channel spherical microphone array
that uses 32 individually calibrated professional quality 14 mm electret microphones embedded in a
rigid sphere baffle. It was used in the test shoot to record the soundfield near the principal cameras for a comprehensive spatial audio representation of the auditory scene. When played back over a suitable ambisonics sound system, the result is a very realistic impression of being in that auditory environment. In FascinatE, the recorded soundfield can be processed such that an accurate impression of ‘being there’ can be obtained wherever the user navigates to in the visual scene.

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ALEXA Camera

The ALEXA camera from ARRI is a compact, lightweight and affordable digital camera that will redefine the limits of motion picture capture with ultra-fast workflows and image quality akin to 35mm film. From major motion pictures and high end dramas to commercials, music videos and mainstream TV, ALEXA suits a wide variety of applications and budgets.

More than just a camera, ALEXA represents an entire image pipeline. By combining proprietary ARRI technology with ubiquitous tools from industry-leading partners, ALEXA stands alone as the most complete and powerful digital production system ever built. The ALEXA was designed with motion picture in mind but is being used in FascinatE because of its flexibility, high sensitivity, excellent colour separation and wide dynamic range.


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Faro Laser Scanner

A 3D laser scanner from Faro is currently being used within FascinatE to measure the 3D geometry of the scene to be recorded. For the test shoot the laser scanner was used to generate a 3D point cloud of the stadium (Stamford Bridge) which enabled the accurate determination of camera and microphone positions which is essential for calibration and processing purposes.

The 3D laser scanner captures the three dimensional shape of a scene. At the heart of this type of scanner is a time-of-flight laser range finder. The laser range finder finds the distance of a surface by timing the round-trip time of a pulse of light. The laser scanner utilizes a rotating mirror to send the laser beam in different directions and to receive the respective range information from these surface points. The device finally generates a dens point cloud of the surface of the scene.

Technical Specification
  • Distance: 0,6 – 120 m radius
  • Resolution (x,y,z): ~4 x 4 x 2mm @ 25m
  • Measurement rate: up to 1 mio. sample/sec
  • Viewing angle: 320° x 360°
  • Scanning time: <1 min – 10 min (depending on resolution)
  • Optional: RGB camera (e.g. Nikon D200) to take panoramic RGB image
Workflow

It takes only minutes to setup the scanner, mount it on a tripod and power it up. After selecting the required scan resolution you can immediately start the scan process. The scanned data are downloaded to a laptop or PC. The scanner system generates a reflectance image and a distance map. The reflectance image is like a black and white image of the scene, whereas the distance map represents the range values for each observed pixel. Both the reflectance image and the range map can be displayed immediately after the scan process has been finished.

The scanner may be placed at different locations and the scan process is repeated from these locations. Once all scans have been acquired, they can automatically be registered to form a single point cloud consisting of measurement points from various individual scans.

It is also possible to take a panoramic RGB picture at each scanner location. As a consequence a coloured point cloud is generated.

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