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Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems VIII (2001)
Proceedings of the SPIE Volume 4297

Stereoscopic Imaging Standards Forum Summary

This year's Stereoscopic Imaging Standards Forum had an ambitious agenda. The following discussions took place:

1. Has the VESA Standard: "Connector and Signal Standards for Stereoscopic Display Hardware" been a success or failure? (led by Mike Weissman)

The stereoscopic community has embraced the standard, but the graphics manufacturers have not. Our success rate with new 3D graphics boards is perhaps 50-50. It was not clear why this is but it may be that the board manufacturers are in a very competitive, cost-conscious market and will not include extra hardware unless the application is well established.

2. How do we publish Stereoscopic Imaging Standards? (led by Mike Weissman)

The pros and cons of "self-publishing" versus publishing through a professional society were discussed. The consensus of the audience was that, in many cases, self-publishing will be adequate; however, there are some standards that we should put through a society, for example, those concerning 3D video might be issued by SMPTE.

3. Shutter Glasses Connectors. (led by Dave Swift)

Most liquid-crystal shutter glasses use a compatible driving signal; however, they do not use compatible connectors. A committee will study whether there is a need for a connector standard.

4. Proposed Standard for Field-Sequential 3D Video (for NTSC/PAL/SECAM). (led by Andrew Woods)

The use of field-sequential 3D video is quite widespread (as compared to other 3D methods), it is relatively easy to work with, and there is a wide range of equipment available which supports it. Unfortunately the choice of which image (left or right) to store in which field (even or odd) is currently somewhat arbitrary. A proposed standard document has been written which seeks to address the following issues: (a) define what is meant by field-sequential 3D Video, (b) summarize the definition of odd and even fields, (c) formalize a labeling technique to signify the 3D image/field polarity of field-sequential 3D video tapes and equipment, and (d) move towards the selection by the stereoscopic imaging community of a preferred 3D image/field polarity.

The next stage is to survey the 3D Video community to determine what 3D polarity is in dominant use and then move towards the ratification of the standard. To that end, we are currently negotiating with the SMPTE with regard to having the final standard published by them.

5. Stereoscopic Image Encoding. (led by Mike Weissman)

In progressive-scan 3D video systems, the common method used today to determine which image is left and which is right (by detecting odd and even fields of the interlaced raster) is not available. Image Encoding offers an alternative: something is inserted into the images themselves to indicate left and right. For example, the letters "L" and "R" could appear in the respective images, small blocks could be placed in the corners, or line patterns could be placed at the top or bottom of the two images. (Whatever is used must be detectable by electronic circuits.) This is a powerful concept for it can be used for *all* 3D systems of the future, but (a) is it too difficult to implement, and (b) would it be universally accepted? A committee was formed to study these questions and to formulate a standard, if appropriate.

6. Establishment of Standards Sub-Committees. (led by Mike Weissman)

It was agreed to establish the following sub-committees, and the following chairs (in brackets) were selected:
  • Shutter Glasses Connector [Dave Swift]
  • Standard for Field-Sequential 3D Video (for NTSC/PAL/SECAM) [Andrew Woods]
  • Stereoscopic image encoding for Digital and HD Video Systems [Mike Weissman]
  • A Stereoscopic Imaging Lexicon [Vivian Walworth and John Rupkalvis]

These chairpersons are currently gathering their sub-committees together. Web-based discussions will take place over the year (facilitated by our website <> ), and reports will be presented at next year's conference, January 21-23, 2001.

Readers are reminded that the standards committee provides a summary of current Stereoscopic Imaging Standards at the following site: <> .

Mike Weissman,
Stereoscopic Standards Committee Chair.

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Maintained by: Andrew Woods
Revised: 15 July, 2001.