ARRI shows prototype RGB+Z camera12 September 2013
On display at the IBC Future Zone is the Arri Alexa SCENE, a prototype RGB+Z camera that couples an Alexa Studio with a time-of-flight camera, allowing it to capture RGB images fused with depth information on the Z-axis.
This is part of ground-breaking European research project SCENE which aims to develop novel representations and tools for digital media beyond sample-based (video) or model-based (graphics) systems.
By delivering synchronised video data and depth data, the camera will permit video images to be manipulated in the same way as CGI. Work by project partners will allow CGI models to be animated “with all the naturalism of real actors and real locations”, it is claimed.
The experimental prototype presented here is a set-ready RGB+Z camera equipped with the newly-developed integrated time-of-flight sensor and capable of recording RGB and Z information synchronously. Both image sensing devices capture their respective images through a common entrance pupil, resulting in a naturally occlusion-free representation of RGB and Z video, with the same field of view. Special hardware, optics, electronics and software have been built to adapt the Alexa into what might be termed the first ‘motion scene camera’.
Dr Johannes Steurer, Arri’s principal research & development engineer, explained: “Even though it is still a prototype we are confident that the post production industry will be highly interested in the new possibilities this technology offers. Compositing, colour grading, keying and many more post tasks can be facilitated by our new camera.
“It provides cutting-edge, high resolution RGB images with fully synchronised depth maps, where both are taken through the same lens and hence feature a parallax-free 3D image of the scene.”