NAB2011: AmberFin puts cat amongst 3D pigeons

One of the potentially more interesting demonstrations at this year’s NAB will see AmberFin showcase a possible sticking point in the drive to establish a global market for 3D sports content.

The problem lies in the production chain. As AmberFin CTO, Bruce Devlin, points out, the assumption prevalent in the industry is that the main difficulty in S3D production lies in capturing the data. Once captured, the thinking goes, existing production chains can be used and all will be well with the images by the time they reach the viewer’s eyeballs.

“We’re challenging this assumption slightly,” he says. “We’ve put images through various parts of the production chain and have found that any process that uses motion estimation, and standards conversion in particular, can destroy the 3D effect. Movies tend to do okay, but with sport in particular it’s a real problem.

“”We are showing at NAB that high quality file processing delivers great 3D. What we’ve found is that many high quality hardware processes and several file processes are able to deliver good individual left-eye and right-eye images, but by the time they get to the viewer you have poor 3D that can all too easily produce headaches and nausea. Visitors to our booth can compare 3D from both high quality file based standards conversion and traditional standards conversion to judge for themselves the effects on excellent 3D source material.”

Interestingly, according to Chief Executive, Jeremy Deaner, though AmberFin has got what it thinks is a solution to the problem, it’s not yet productised it. “We don’t see the business case for 3D yet,” he says, “so we’re seeing if there is enough interest at NAB before deciding to take it to the next stage.”

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