Variable Viewpoint Reality


Progress Report: January 1, 2001 — June 30, 2001

Paul Viola and Eric Grimson


Project Overview

In the foreseeable future, sporting events will be recorded in super high fidelity from hundreds or even thousands of cameras. Currently the nature of television broadcasting demands that only a single viewpoint be shown, at any particular time. This viewpoint is necessarily a compromise and is typically designed to displease the fewest number of viewers.

In this project we are creating a new viewing paradigm that will take advantage of recent and emerging methods in computer vision, virtual reality and computer graphics technology, together with the computational capabilities likely to be available on next generation machines and networks. This new paradigm will allow each viewer the ability to view the field from any arbitrary viewpoint -- from the point of view of the ball headed toward the soccer goal; or from that of the goalie defending the goal; as the quarterback dropping back to pass; or as a hitter waiting for a pitch. In this way, the viewer can observe exactly those portions of the game which most interest him, and from the viewpoint that most interests him (e.g. some fans may want to have the best view of Michael Jordan as he sails toward the basket; others may want to see the world from his point of view).


Progress Through June 2001

To create this new viewing paradigm, there are a number of important computer vision and graphics problems that must be solved. These include issues of real-time 3D reconstruction, coordination of large numbers of cameras, rendering of arbitrary viewpoints, learning to recognize common activities, finding similar visual events in archival video, and many other associated problems. We have made progress on many of the problems related to the goals of the Variable Viewpoint Reality project:

Research Plan for the Next Six Months