Friday, April 06, 2012

Turn Your Boring HD Videos Into 3-D Masterpieces on YouTube

3D at the push of a few buttons. Photo: YouTube
Unless you’re James Cameron or Peter Jackson, sharing a 3-D video with your friends is damn near impossible. Which is a shame because that video of you falling down the stairs demands a third dimension.
YouTube wants you to share your amazing HD action videos in glorious 3-D with the push of a button. Beginning Thursday, all HD videos on YouTube have the option to be encoded in 3-D.
Before you start looking for videos in your YouTube account to convert to 3-D, consider the following, as the process isn’t completely turn-key.
First, the feature only works with HD videos (all the HD videos in my YouTube account, including videos uploaded over a year ago, included an option for 3-D viewing). To enable the 3-D viewing option for end users, the feature can be set in the “Edit Info” section of each video.
Second, in order for an end user to see a video in 3-D, he or she will need to set playback to HD as well. At this point, the 3-D feature appears in the options area below the timeline. Once 3-D is enabled, there are a variety of 3-D viewing options. For stereoscopic, color-based glasses, users can opt for red/cyan, green/magenta, and blue/yellow. Interleaved glasses are also supported. Side-by-Side view — the eye-crossing “no glasses” features — and HTML5 Stereo view are also available.
The steps necessary to view a video in 3-D seem a bit convoluted. But, hey, it’s 3-D. Having one button that adjusts the playback to HD, and automagically turns on 3-D probably would have been too simple.
Google explained how they take your boring 2-D video and turn it into in-your-face 3-D:
– We use a combination of video characteristics such as color, spatial layout and motion to estimate a depth map for each frame of a monoscopic video sequence
- We use machine learning from the growing number of true 3-D videos on YouTube to learn video depth characteristics and apply them in depth estimation
- The generated depth map and the original monoscopic frame create a stereo 3-D left-right pair, that a stereo display system needs to display a video as 3-D
Expect an onslaught of videos of various individuals punching at their cameras in the next few weeks as users test the service.

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