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Processor brings 3D to photography, videos

Posted: 26 Nov 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D  image processing  video compression  camera 

In the coming years, growth of 3D TV may fuel new opportunities like 3D image and video capturing capabilities for digital video cameras.

At least Ambarella Inc. thinks it will, and the chip vendor is pioneering the feature with the introduction of a 3D video pre-processor. Called S3D, the chip works with the company's camera SoCs to record 3D videos in full HD 1,080p 3D and take high-resolution 3D photographs.

When the S3D is combined with the A5 camera SoC it enables 1,080P30 resolution; and when combined with the A7, it enables 1,080P60 resolution. The goal of the combination is to create a consumer-friendly 3D digital video camera priced at less than Rs.8,934.03 ($200) that can shoot 3D video "that looks really good on 3D TV," said Chris Day, VP of marketing and business development at Ambarella.

The 3D camera solution also supports the display of 3D video and still images on the camera's 3D LCD display.

Ambarella's 3D video pre-processor, which connects to two standard CMOS image sensors, will combine two video streams into one. Then, the video stream will be processed by the A5 or A7 camera SoCs.

S3D, consisting of many video logics, contains no CPU of any sort. Instead, the video pre-processor is under the control of the camera SoC, according to Ambarella's Day.

S3D is designed to perform a lot of "clever scaling," said Day. Declining to detail what makes S3D superior to others, Day simply noted that quality is the biggest challenge in such a 3D video pre-processor. "Obviously, when you combine two video streams into one, something has to give. Preserving the video quality was our number one priority."

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