NAB News: The Sports Channel of Israel, also known as Sport 5, is to use the new Stergen Live 2D to 3D conversion system for its new 3D channel, which launches on Saturday (April 16th), writes David Fox. The new Stergen Hi-Tech conversion system is claimed to be even better than conventional 3D (see our report from this week’s TVBEurope 3D newsletter), and Sport 5 is the first broadcaster to announce its adoption.
“Stergen software enables broadcasters and sports production companies to produce games in stereo 3D from their studio,” said Dr. Miky Tamir, founder of Stergen. “This spares them the huge operational costs associated with the transition to stereo 3D sports productions. The system can ingest a programme feed and automatically detect cuts and classify the on-air camera. A convenient scene algorithm is then chosen for the said camera. This presents a very compelling value proposition for those seeking to expand their stereo 3D programme offerings as simply and cost-effectively as possible.”
Stergen Live receives the HD signal via an SDI input and outputs the conversion results from dual SDI outputs, in real time. The process is based on image understanding and application of the real stereo shift to each group of objects.
Designed specifically for 3DTV sports, Stergen’s software takes advantage of sports- specific features, such as the planar and uniformly coloured playing field, enabling accurate segmentation of objects like players, balls, and goal posts. A known geometry is then assigned to those objects; for example, players and goal posts are vertical, the field is horizontal, and stands have a known slope. On–the-fly calculation of the scene’s geometry and its stereoscopic 3D image rendering are then performed.
“We have found that Stergen Live is the best conversion technology for sports” said Avi Bar, the Sports Channel’s Chief Executive Officer. “The resultant stereo 3D is the closest we have seen to real 3D shooting and in many cases it’s even better than the real thing. This is a compelling alternative to the very expensive and logistically complicated 3D outdoor production. It’s also the only alternative to 3D display of archive legacy material and 2D pre-recorded games.”
Stergen offers high operational flexibility: in-stadium conversion of a single camera or a number of cameras connected through a matrix switcher, in-studio conversion of a live program feed and after-the-fact conversion of pre-recorded footage.