A team from the Data Science Research Platform (DSRP) at the University of Malta, in collaboration with Stargate Studios Malta, has recently been awarded a €200,000 grant to help with research and development of a video Light Field camera system.
This technology represents the state-of-the-art in augmented reality (AR) and virtual-reality (VR) and cinematic recording and allows the filmmakers to digitally refocus after the capture, facilitates 3D modelling and the realistic integration of computer-generated content, it also aims to eliminate the use of greenscreen.
Nevertheless, this technology is very expensive, making it out of reach for most productions, since it uses a grid of almost one hundred high-resolution cameras to capture the scene. Moreover, this technology generates data at a rate of around 1Tbps, requiring high-end communication and storage hardware to handle it.
The VideO Light field Acquisition and REstoration (VoLARe) project involves the design and development of a low-cost video light field capturing system which aims to reduce the number of cameras that are typically used, reducing the throughput and therefore the costs of the equipment.
The major challenge in this project is to develop algorithms that can accurately estimate the depth in the scene which will be used to synthesize the intermediate views. Stargate Studios Malta, who are partners in this project, are a production and visual effects company.
They will write, direct and produce a short film to demonstrate the technology developed during the project.
This is the first time that such technology will be used in a production in Malta. The VoLARe project is financed by the Malta Council for Science & Technology, for and on behalf of the Foundation for Science and Technology, through the FUSION: R&I Technology Development Programme.
The primary investigator on this project is Dr Reuben Farrugia.
More information about this project can be found on the project website.