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Archive for April, 2015

The Future of the Video Experience: Part IV – Holograms

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

11201436955_fa3cfbdcbb_bWe all remember that incredible night at Coachella 2012, when a holographic version of the late Tupac Shakur came on stage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg like Princess Leia out of R2-D2. This technology is a staple in science fiction and future technological projections. However, we’re closer than we might think to holographic technology. Though this seems novel from the perspective of a movie buff, the technology could change the way we interact and communicate forever.

What is it?

Most of us know the mechanics of hologram technology from the movies and TV shows we see. The purpose of this technology is to 3D-project the figure of a person with accurate shape, size, and form in real-time. Think of R2-D2’s message from Leia in A New Hope. A transmission is sent from one location to another containing a message, or in some cases, broadcast in real time. Though this sounds like a load of science fiction, researchers are coming close to making this a reality.

What does it do?

The name of the game when it comes to hologram technology is “tele-immersion.” To put it simply, tele-immersion is a combination of the use of video and telephonic technology to create a full, real-time 3D transmission of a person’s figure and speech.

If you’ve ever used a service like Skype or FaceTime to communicate via video, you already know that there are delay issues, glitch outs, and restricted visibility overall. The goal of tele-immersion is to combine that technology with the real time factor of a telephone, along with real-time motion sensing, so that someone on a video call is never out of view, and the angle you stand at effects what you see on the other side.

As opposed to having a confined view from one angle dependent on the web-cam position, video calling would be more like looking through a physical window. When you look at someone through a window, as you move left and right and change your angle of perspective, you’re able to see other things in the room more clearly that would be out of sight if you were standing directly in front of it.

What could it do?

The biggest focus when it comes to holographic technology is it’s potential in video conferencing and video based communication. However, this isn’t just in the corporate world.

Here’s an example: let’s say you have a family member who lives far away or out of state, and though they want to come home for Thanksgiving to see their family, work restrictions around that date make it impossible for them to fly home. Instead of giving them a FaceTime call or phone call to greet them for the holiday, holographic technology would allow that family member (or, a 3D real-time representation of that family member) to sit at the table with you, communicate in real time, and interact with everyone with full immersion.

In the corporate world, this would excuse travelling expenses for employees. Once holographic technology is in the hands of the average consumer, an employee here in Rochester Hills, Michigan could interact with employees of that same corporation in a completely different continent. This could absolutely change the way we handle international business.

Where is it at in development?

As of now, there is a group of researchers known as the National Tele-Immersion Initiative, which works to bring this technology to its full potential. However, universities such as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina are actively finding results in the world of tele-immersion. Though not enough progress has been made to make this a consumer-based product, research is being done on the topic of tele-immersion every day, so we might see our own holodecks sooner than we think.

Here’s one example of interactive hologram technology, courtesy of LM3Labs’ “AirStrike”.

photo credit: Eric Prydz @ Aragon, Chicago 11/29/2013 via photopin (license)

The Future of The Video Experience – Part III: 4k

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

screenMany people strive for the best quality in their media. We see this in how people consume media today. Think back: When was the last time you paused or refreshed a video on YouTube because it wouldn’t stream at full 1080p? What about the last time you chose to buy a ticket to the IMAX showing of a movie instead of a regular theater because you “just had to see it in IMAX?” We like our video to be high quality, and as long as that’s the case,
we’ll always strive to increase the quality of our media.

With that said, there are people pushing the boundaries of how high they can truly go in regards to quality. This is where 4k technology comes into play. Though we’ve reached this next step in video quality, how long will this technology be relevant? What could it do to change the industry?

First, let’s get down to the basics about 4k.

What is it?

To put it simply, 4k is a higher video quality than that of 1080p. The entire purpose of 4k is to utilize more pixels to create a higher quality image. Higher pixel count means more detail, which, in turn, creates a more vivid and clear image for the viewer.

What does it do?

In a nutshell, 4k is just defined as more pixels. To understand this, you need a relative understanding of how modern televisions work.

A pixel, as we’ve covered in recent blog posts, is a square image of light and color that works with others to create a full picture. In the past, we have described a pixel as one of the small photos that make up a collage. All of the smaller pictures work together to forge a bigger image. Television works the same way, at a much higher and faster rate.

 

A 1080p display means that there it is 1080 rows of pixels tall, and 1920 columns of pixels wide. With 4k, you’re talking 4,000 pixels wide, and 2160 tall. Let’s go back to the collage analogy. The more pictures you use to create the bigger image, the higher quality the bigger image will turn out. The same applies to television. As opposed to 3,000 miniature pictures, you now have 6,160 images making up the bigger picture. That’s over double the pixels!

What could it do?

To say the least, 4k is around to stay.

If this technology sticks around, we can expect a major change in the way cinematography is approached in the future. Filmmakers are already shooting films in 4k. Many models of GoPros even have 4k capabilities. Even some cell phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, are able to achieve 4k quality!

4k and higher technologies could change the way we approach cinematography. As more pixels result in a more lush and detailed image, and with our obsession with high quality media, it’s safe to say that 4k could easily become the new standard.

Where is it at in development?

4k is already commercially available. You can purchase a 4k TV at almost any electronics store or even online these days. You can even purchase cinema cameras now that go up to 5k and 6k, such as the Sony RED, but they come with a hefty price tag. Video quality technology will always be changing and developing, so who knows how high developers will go before we reach a new standard.

Example:

Below, you’ll find a comparison between footage taken in 4k compared to footage taken in full HD (or 1080p). Can you tell the difference?

Stay tuned for more from “The Future of the Video Experience,” right here at PrimeauProductions.com

The Future of the Video Experience – Part II – Virtual Reality

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

3638850861_601332544eIn our second installment of “The Future of the Video Experience,” we’re taking on a piece of immersive media that, until recently, seemed revolutionarily strictly in the field of gaming. However, as this media has advanced, we’re learning how powerful this technology could really be for the world of video. That’s right; we’re talking about Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time now, but its biggest advancements are just now coming to surface. From video games to communication to film, these headsets are slowly changing the way we consume multimedia.

What is it? What does it do?
Virtual Reality is by no means a new concept. Those of us who grew up in the early 90’s remember how badly we wanted Mr. Macintosh’s awesome Virtual Reality room from Disney’s “Blank Check.” However, back then, due to the infancy of the technology, you’d need that $1 million check (and a really ignorant banker) to secure a headset for yourself.

Virtual Reality headsets, such as the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift, allow the real-time movements of the user to be interpreted by their headset and create a virtual world for users to explore. This is a gaming medium that needs no controllers, no console, and no spot on the couch.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of this technology throughout the past decade or two. However, the potential of what it could do in coming years is revolutionary.

What could it do?
Many applications have been tested and executed with Virtual Reality, from gaming, to training aids, and now, even to news. In fact, Nonny de la Peña, also known as the “Godmother of Virtual Reality,” has been working and overseeing the construction of what she calls “Immersive Journalism.” The idea is that, when you consume news from conventional television news outlets, watching the events as they play out through the screen allows you to look at stories from a secondary perspective, which sometimes can make the important humanitarian issues miss with viewers. The purpose of Immersive Journalism is to allow viewers to experience a simulated version of what these stories mean for those they affect.

For example, Peña’s latest project, “Project Syria,” is an exposition of the ongoing disputes over in Syria. The project was unveiled at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where viewers could put on the Virtual Reality headset and were able to see, hear, and experience these disputes first hand, from a simulated environment replicating the streets of Syria. It was critically well received, and the project really looks to create an experiential impact on viewers.

However, news stations aren’t the only ones who benefit from immersive experiences. Even companies like Disney are looking into the possibility of Virtual Reality. Disney is allegedly looking to create virtual reality simulations of their parks, allowing users to put on their Oculus Rift and experience Epcot, Space Mountain, and all of their other favorites, without having to find plane tickets to Florida to do so.

Where is it at in development?
As described before, Virtual Reality has come a long way. However, these headsets are still a fairly new technology as far as commercial development is concerned, so there’s no telling when we will see a public release of the consumer equivalent. However, as it’s already done, the Virtual Reality headset is a game-changer for interactive media content and immersive media experiences.

You can learn more about Project Syria and Immersive Journalism here:

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Part III of our “Future of the Video Experience” series, right here at PrimeauProductions.com.

photo credit: 3D via photopin (license)

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