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3D Video: From Capture to Diffusion by Yannick Remion, Celine Loscos, Laurent Lucas

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Chapter 17

2D–3D Conversion

17.1. Introduction

Native stereoscopic filming may be considered too costly in terms of time or resources. At times, filming may already have taken place, and the scene may no longer exist. In other cases, a posteriori 3D conversion is the only way of producing 3D content. The recent release of 3D versions of “older” blockbusters, such as Titanic, Top Gun or The Lion King, has made use of this technique. The conversion of “flat” 2D content into 3D content involves creating missing information. The process involves an automatic aspect, where parallax is created from other depth cues present in the scene, and an aspect carried out by human operators, adding a creative dimension to the procedure.

Methods developed for 2D–3D conversion may also be used for parallax correction in existing, but unsatisfactory, stereoscopic content. The 2D–3D conversion industry is currently expanding, with an estimated annual turnover of billions of dollars. Companies, such as Prime Focus, employ 1,200 workers in India for the conversion process alone. A number of directors have chosen to use this technique, including George Lucas for the Star Wars films and James Cameron for Titanic.

Although it presents certain advantages, 2D–3D conversion is not a simple process; situated on the border between technology and art, it requires continuous human intervention. The cost of high-quality conversion currently ranges from $50,000 to $150,000 per minute. Pioneers in the domain include ...

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