SGO Mistika now boasts “Equaleyes”, the industry’s fastest and most capable automatic stereoscopic image matching tool. Equaleyes provides fully automated functions for correcting discrepancies between left and right images, caused by differences in cameras, lenses and stereo rig systems.
Mismatches between left and right images are a fact of stereoscopic life and are caused by a variety of inherent shooting variables such as mismatched lenses and stereoscopic camera rigs that do not have the two cameras perfectly aligned. These result in a pair of images where one has a size, position or rotational difference with respect to the other. They are known collectively as geometric misalignments and must be removed by perfectly matching the left and right images together. If they are not matched, the audience will experience discomfort while watching misaligned stereo content, which in turn results in viewer fatigue and headaches. Manual alignment of Stereo 3D material is an extremely time-consuming process and can account for a large proportion of a post production budget, if attempted.
Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO of Mistika’s manufacturer SGO, explains further: “Equaleyes is designed to ensure that of a given post production budget or schedule, the smallest amount of time is used up on the technical aspects of alignment, conforming including all the mundane, but necessary processes as well. This allows the majority of the time to be spent creatively – and there are plenty of creative tools in Mistika for that! Our driving force is to simply empower our artists and operators to create the very best content by providing them with the fastest and most flexible tools possible.”
Mistika’s Equaleyes technology builds on Mistika’s already famous ability to rapidly align stereo images, with the results being immediately playable and usable in real time. Equaleyes provides an automatic assessment of the geometric errors between left and right images, using advanced proprietary image recognition technology. This assessment then generates settings to correct not just positional, rotational and scale differences, but also “key-stoning” challenges. The assessment takes barely half a second to compute after which, the corrected shot can be played, or used immediately in real-time, with no further rendering.
In addition, Mistika also features a two-step colour matching algorithm. The first will colour-match the majority of stereo 3D shots by creating an overall colour grade to match one eye to the other (or both to a common point). The second step, where needed, executes a pixel-by-pixel match in order to repair stereo oddities such as polarised light that creates spot-differences in textures between images.
The practical effect of Mistika’s unique Equaleyes technology, coupled with it’s amazing real time processing of the result, has wide-ranging implications to massively improve the efficiency of stereoscopic productions. British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) was among the first broadcasters to be able to make use of the new technology in their ground-breaking coverage of The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently in Stereo 3D.
Nicholas Recagno, Stereoscopic 3D Mistika Artist who also worked on the Royal Wedding project at BSkyB affirms: “Equaleyes is a massive time saver for Stereo 3D post and ensures that only the best 3D ever leaves a Mistika suite.”
Working to an incredibly tight timetable, as the coverage was broadcast on the Tuesday after the Royal Wedding weekend, meant that correction of stereo material and offline editing had to happen in parallel. The offline editor worked directly from the camera rushes while, at the same time, BSkyB’s Mistika systems corrected many hours of rushes from every camera.
At the completion of the edit session, Mistika created an instantaneous 3D conform from the camera rushes it had loaded, along with the stereo corrections that had been added. BSkyB’s lead stereographer Francisco Ramos said: “It would have been impossible to correct that amount of material in such a short space of time, to Sky’s exacting standards, on any other system. Mistika remains without a doubt, the fastest and most productive finishing and workflow system around.”
Steve Shaw, CEO of Light Illusion and SGO Partner confirmed: “Automated correction of Stereoscopic eye disparities is something of an often quoted function, but very few systems and features deliver on their claims of promises. Mistika’s Equaleyes is the first automated geometry and colour fix solution that actually delivers beyond what it promises – and it works brilliantly too.”
The Equaleyes functionality is immediately available and has been added to Mistika Version 6’s post production and Mistika “Live” versions.