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Applied Research: Improving Film Productions in 3D

Press Release No. 79/2011
23 March 2011
Ministry of economic affairs supports collaboration between Heidelberg University and Baden-Württemberg Film Academy

New methods of 3D image processing in film productions are the focus of a collaborative project between Heidelberg University’s Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing (HCI) and the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy in Ludwigsburg. Also involved are a number of film production companies. Funding for the project in the amount of 410,000 euros comes from the Baden-Württemberg ministry of economic affairs. Three Heidelberg doctoral candidates at the HCI are setting out to improve film processing techniques with a view to achieving better 3D effects. Half of the research funding is earmarked for this purpose.

Stereoscopy (better known as “3D”) is a way of providing images with an impression of depth that is not present in physical terms. “Close interplay between filming methods, digital post-production and display technologies is crucial for the impression made on the viewer,” says Dr. Daniel Kondermann, a computer scientist at HCI who got the project on the road in conjunction with Volker Heinzle of the Film Academy. Until now, many 3D methods have been based on laborious manual methods, one recent example being the Walt Disney film Alice in Wonderland (2010). The integrated research project selected for funding (“Development of Systems and Methods for the Effective Provision and Processing of Stereoscopic Content”) sets out to automate recurring stages in the processing of film material and thus enhance the quality of the results.

The three dissertations under way at the HCI focus on the use of innovative cameras that alongside one colour per pixel also supply distance information. Other subjects are new techniques for the conversion of two-dimensional content into 3D and the analysis of motions in film sequences. During the three-year project the research results will be put into practice in conjunction with the five partner enterprises.

The Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing (HCI) is an “Industry on Campus” project started up on 1 January 2008 by Heidelberg University and a number of industrial companies. Initially it is designed to run for five years. Supported by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Computing (IWR), it is part of Heidelberg University’s “institutional strategy” funded by the Initiative for Excellence. The HCI is Germany’s largest image processing centre. As a cross-sector science, image processing at Heidelberg University has been successfully employed in industry, biology, medicine, environmental physics and art history research. The new project involves cooperation with a creative business (the film industry), thus adding a further interdisciplinary field of application to the list.


Prof. Dr. Bernd Jähne
Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing (HCI)
phone: +49 6221 548827

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