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8K video and gigapan images show the Olympics in high resolution

By dpreview staff on Aug 1, 2012 at 17:38 GMT

The Olympics are always the great proving ground for the latest camera technology, but it's not just Canon's EOS-1D X and Nikon's D4 that are bringing the experience of the games to the wider world. US broadcaster NBC is publishing a series of stitched 'gigapan' images from the different venues - including a 3 gigapixel composite of the opening ceremony. All this resolution allows you to zoom right into the scene - and find your nation's athletes or, as some attendees have begin doing, tag yourself in the audience.

Meanwhile, Japanese broadcaster NHK has been collaborating with the UK's BBC to broadcast the first live, remote 8K footage. There are few screens that can yet show such footage, but tech-site Engadget has written about what it's like to watch and whether 8K really is 'the end of the resolution story.'

To get a fuller understanding of that 8K footage (in which sixty 33MP images per second are delivered over a 500Mb/s IP feed), click here to read our story about the development work NHK has been doing in this area.

Comments

Total comments: 49
fmian
By fmian (Aug 6, 2012)

In regards to the visible seams in the stitched shots.
If I handed in a stitched shot panorama for a photo assignment with tears and seams visible, I'd think that I would fail.
Here though, it ends up on the official Olympics website and is acceptable as the work of a paid pro, using super expensive technology.
It seems the standards have truly dropped.
But at least we have the megapixels.

1 upvote
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Aug 7, 2012)

I can see many ghosts with no legs or no upper body in the opening shot. Yes, you are right. I understand they have a deadline to beat but the stitching is just horrible.

0 upvotes
AndyGM
By AndyGM (Aug 5, 2012)

I saw this system at the BBC today. First up, this absolutely blows away every native IMAX movie I have seen (not just the DMR upscaled stuff, but the native stuff too). The crispness of the image is just amazing. Don't get me wrong, on the "realness" scale its not the whole way there, but it is impressive. The screen that had been set up was 3.8M tall, and I was about that distance away from it, so closer than SHV is designed for, which might not have given me the full super resolution "realness" experience. At this distance, you still notice the edges of the screen if you are watching "big vista" images (like the opening ceremony clips they showed), but if you focus in on action (we saw a Team USA basketball game) you do start to forget the edges of the screen are there.
While the picture is impressive, the audio is just phenomenal, spectacular, almost unbelievably good. It truly lives up to the name surround sound, it just envelopes you.

0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 2, 2012)

Can anyone give final answer - is it Bayer? I'm finding contradictory statements.

0 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (Aug 2, 2012)

So, video finally has sufficient resolution to replace film?
Though of course the same colors and tones are still missing...

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Aug 2, 2012)

Here I am posting about something I have not even seen! Well, quite honestly, I've seen no 4k or 8k displays, and I disbelieve claims that a 10-inch or 20-inch retina display would deliver any perceptible advantage without employing a microscope or hyper-accute Clark Kent vision. We also have people who shoot photos with an even more incredible 20MP or higher resolution. Are people going to sit 20" from a 100" screen just so they can pixel peep?

One fabulously useful discovery, though, is that narrow DOF is completely inimical to hyper-definition huge screens. When the display screen is a giant "immersion" one, the human eye's focal vision does its own subject selection and blurs the rest.

1 upvote
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Aug 2, 2012)

It's amazing that so called photographers can't see any difference in the display on an ipad 2 and new iPad with Retina display.

2 upvotes
BaconBit
By BaconBit (Aug 3, 2012)

Retina displays (to use Apple's marketing term) do deliver an advantage. A very perceptible one.

1 upvote
nerdbynature
By nerdbynature (Aug 4, 2012)

Ever been in cinema in the last years? There is a need for 4K and higher resolutions and there are very big screens :-)

0 upvotes
AndyGM
By AndyGM (Aug 2, 2012)

This is a good summary of the work NHK have done:

http://www.nhk.or.jp/strl/english/aboutstrl1/r1-1-1.htm

Figure 2 is very interesting, it is demonstrating the results of 2 "perception tests" they have carried out using 8K displays.

The 2 perceptions they have tested are "sense of realness" and "sense of being there". If you sit closer to the screen, it fills more of your field of view so your sense of being there goes up, but you might start to be able to see the pixels in the image, so your sense of realness goes down.

The sense of being there stops scaling linearly at about 70deg FOV, this is a point of diminishing returns. This is also roughly where the 2 lines cross (where the sum of both perceptions is at a maximum). This corresponds with a viewing position somewhere between 1 and 1.5 times the picture height. I will leave it to Randomoneh to work out how many Pixels/deg this is, but its still more than enough for most people to not see individual pixels.

1 upvote
AndyGM
By AndyGM (Aug 2, 2012)

To follow up, it seems that the research done has shown that most people can make out individual pixels at anything below 60 Pixels/Deg. However that is not the end of the story. If you increase the resolution beyond this, most people continue to perceive an improvement in image quality, as Randomoneh has said, tests have been done up to 156 Pixel/Deg and test subjects still saw a benefit to image quality (although NHKs research results say this is a point where viewers could not distinguish between a display screen and a real object).

1 upvote
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 2, 2012)

You're confusing cycles per degree with pixels per degree. 1 cycle per degree = 2 pixels per degree. 156 cycles per degree = 312 pixels per degree.

But if you read their research papers, it seems limit is ~200 pixels per degree (100 cycles per degree). I can link you to pdf if you want.

2 upvotes
AndyGM
By AndyGM (Aug 2, 2012)

Oops, yes, got that mixed up!

OK, the work done by NHK is answering those that say human eyesight is 30 CPD (aka 60 pixels per degree), so any screen that provides more than that is a waste. This number just seems to be a "lower limit", anything below this and most people can make out the structure of the image. But higher resolutions do not seem to be a waste, because most people can discern improvements in the image quality way above this lower limit.

Would you say that is a fair summary?

4 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 2, 2012)

@AndyGM
Absolutely.

1 upvote
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 3, 2012)

"OK, the work done by NHK is answering those that say human eyesight is 30 CPD (aka 60 pixels per degree), so any screen that provides more than that is a waste."

The reason that this is false is because a display with 60 pixels per degree can only display 60 lines per degree if the lines are exactly aligned with the pixel grid, if they are not they can disappear completely. Even if you have 600 pixels per degree there will still be a drop in contrast for 60 lines per degree displayed but with exact contrast compensation (or sharpening) 120 pixels per degree can be enough to consistently accurately display 60 lines per degree.

1 upvote
Nikolay
By Nikolay (Aug 2, 2012)

Speaking of interesting images of the Olympics, here are couple 360-degree aerial panoramas of the Olympic stadium and venues.

http://aerialphotoimage.com/360/London/Olympic-Stadium-Aerial.html
http://aerialphotoimage.com/360/London/Olympic-Park-Aerial.html

0 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Aug 2, 2012)

OK, wallpaper for my retina display.

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Aug 1, 2012)

Lovely! Though very different to my set of Olympic event photos!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/swamibu/sets/72157630793769412/

0 upvotes
Mattoid
By Mattoid (Aug 1, 2012)

I really like the diving shot taken from high up. Fantastic shot. The only thing I would change is cropping that bit of black off the bottom. What post processing did you do? did you mess around with it a lot or is it just the dramatic tone art filter?

0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 1, 2012)

It's about angular resolution. If we speak strictly, highest tested angular resolution that test subjects were able to benefit from is 156 pixels per degree [of person's field of view]. Data suggests actual limit would be about 200 pixels per degree.

If we take 200 ppd (0.3 arcminutes per pixel) as a limit, 8K would match that limit when 8K display itself occupies 37 or less degrees of person's field of view horizontally, meaning we would need even higher resolution if we want our display to occupy more that 37 degrees.

If we're talking about 0.5 arcminute per pixel (120 pixels per degree):
4320p would mean optimal sitting distance of 1.6x (1.59) picture height or farther, making display occupy 58.4 degrees of field of view horizontally or less. With 2160p, optimal sitting distance would be 3.2x (3.18) picture height or farther, making display occupy 31.24 degrees of field of view horizontally or less.

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 1, 2012)

While "cool," to be sure, I personally find this to be more freaky than anything ... it is just SO overwhelmingly dystopian to me. I feel that privacy will just vanish ever more with this drum beat of relentless "progress" ... and databases of every face, automated irises everywhere one goes, and increasingly mechanized "security measures" ... it is like everything we have been warned about by wise folks who could see this coming :(

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Aug 2, 2012)

Or perhaps we will just need new ways of addressing privacy. In Heinlein's "For Us the Living" everybody agrees to recognize and respect public and private spheres.

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Aug 2, 2012)

I largely agree with Camediadude as a deep believer in the Murphy's law. There is almost no point producing such an image except if someone wants to have the capacity to spot any individual in a crowd afterward.

I can predict you when all that hyper-definition images will begin to be used by the police, there will be a lot of us who will buy themselves a new pair of sunglasses and a fake mustache: two very good markets to invest in if you want to know how to use your savings.

1 upvote
Mattoid
By Mattoid (Aug 1, 2012)

Bit stupid that you can't view the gigapan images full screen. The full zoomed out image doesn't even look sharp with all that over sampleing. It should be the best quality ever.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Carsten Pauer 2
By Carsten Pauer 2 (Aug 1, 2012)

LoL, on the left Side You can see the Queen. ;-)

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Aug 1, 2012)

And, to her left, you can see Sebastian Coe has lost part of his face to a stitching error.

2 upvotes
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Aug 2, 2012)

But where's Wally?

3 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Aug 1, 2012)

If only NBC spend this much time covering the Olympics instead of selling airtimes and doing personal interest interviews. Worst gymnastics coverage ever.

2 upvotes
Lsman
By Lsman (Aug 1, 2012)

That's a lot of empty seats...

3 upvotes
MaRcIu
By MaRcIu (Aug 1, 2012)

mother of stalking =O

3 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

From Engadget:
"Ultimately, there's plenty of reason to believe the BBC's project head, Tim Plyming, when he says that "8K is the maximum the human eye can understand" and that "it's the end of the resolution story.""

That's only true for a field of view equivalent to about 40mm (or about 55-60° diagonal). For ultra wide angle viewing we need much higher.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
KitHB
By KitHB (Aug 1, 2012)

Tim has a point about resolution, but that's not quite the end of improving the moving image.
Frame rate is highly significant.
In parallel with working with NHK on the 8K Super HiVision, BBC R&D experimented with higher frame rates.
We know that interpolating frames into a 50 or 60 fps video for motion blur gives artefacts and a slightly weird look, but native 300 fps (6 or 5 times faster, depending) updates quicker than human vision can distinguish from reality. I've seen their demos and a very odd thing happens. The picture suddenly looks much more "real", it has a clarity of movement that is magical. It's like looking through a window or being there in person. The BBC has a demonstration of a game of table tennis that shows this perfectly. The improvement is most obvious in fast moving balls and in facial expressions.
The data processing for this is (of course) fearsome, but it is a worthy avenue of improvement for video.

3 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Aug 1, 2012)

Well yeah- human viewing.

If you've got eyes on the sides of your head like a fish- it would need to be wider and have higher res ;)

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

@mister_roboto
You only see a 60° field of view? That is very narrow, most of us see over 180° and it is actually possible to rotate your head to look around too.

For a 90°+ field of view a flat display with uniform pixel density would need about 4 times the pixel resolution of these displays or 15360x8640 to be good enough in the center of the field of view.

Imax classic theaters have approximately this field of view for the middle seating position:

http://www.lfexaminer.com/20090522a.htm

“The high-resolution picture is used in conjunction with a large screen and carefully organized audience seating to ensure that minimum and maximum viewing angles lie between 60° to 120° horizontally and 40° to 80° vertically for the farthest and nearest spectators respectively. The intent is to create an illusion of ‘being there,’ rather than present a ‘normal’ motion picture through a well-defined window.

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

@KitHB
I agree and I consider higher frame rates to be more important than higher resolution especially for current display sizes and because of the very low frame rates used. Depth of field limitations will also prevent getting the full benefit from very high resolutions.

However I do not agree that 300fps is high enough. Motion blur at that speed will still cause a very obvious reduction in resolution. To achieve perfect sharpness on moving subjects the motion blur caused by both the exposure time and the display hold time needs to be reduced to about the size of a single pixel. For 8k displays when panning at 1 display width per 2 seconds this means 1/4000th exposure time and display time which means that with continuous capture and display we will need 4000fps. Capturing at a much slower frame rate with this same high shutter speed and strobing the display can achieve almost the same result but has limitations which mean that eventually these very high frame rates will be used.

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

@KitHB
What did you think about the reactions to the 48fps used in The Hobbit? I also read some discussion somewhere about which frame rate would be the future of cinema: 48fps vs 60fps. It is really sad to see.

I am hoping to get a 7680x4320p300 display very soon. Anything lower is just no good.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 1, 2012)

Actually, it depends on what we say is a limit.

If limit is 0.3 arcminutes per pixel (200 pixels per degree), than 8K is enough for 37 degrees of person's field of view horizontally. Remember, you can't simply divide horizontal resolution with limit (number of pixels per degree) to get number of degrees of field of view which display can occupy while matching limit of vision. Why? Well, display is straight, isn't it?

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

Yes you are right, and because of this i think that for 90° fov and bigger flat displays get quite absurd and a curved one would be much more suitable. Personally I am looking to use 75° diagonal fov as my standard view for a flat display when they are good enough which would match the diagonal fov of a 28mm full frame lens.
For a 100" display that is a viewing distance of 64.7" so it is not really realistic to expect more any time soon both because of the size and limited resolution.

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

@KitHB
I found something about that bbc research you mentioned:
http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/rd/pubs/whp/whp-pdf-files/WHP169.pdf
I wish this stuff was common knowledge among so called video 'experts'.

The picture at the bottom shows how bad 50fps still is, i see this blurring all the time on 50fps broadcasts on eurosport and bbc.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 1, 2012)

@malcolm82

Google for "NHK realness".

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 1, 2012)

Thanks.
I just found you on this forum:
http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-1380708.html

small internet :)

0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 1, 2012)

@malcolm82
Some of my info on that Macrumors thread is not correct and I don't feel like editing it :D
Oh well...

0 upvotes
beholder1
By beholder1 (Aug 2, 2012)

Human central vision is 20/20. Our central angle of view is 40°-60°.
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/cameras-vs-human-eye.htm
You certainly wouldn't have the imax experience at home using that resolution unless fixed periphery angles could be sythesized. Perhaps with help of this instruction : http://digital-photography-school.com/a-camera-that-shoots-at-a-trillion-frames-per-second , thereby perhaps absolving all of our visual concerns 'til "then".

0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 2, 2012)

@beholder1
That is pretty weird thing to say (human central vision is 20/20). First of all, you're talking about measurement of visual acuity done with Snellen chart. Second, 20/20 is nominal, not average value. Third, do you think you can simply translate Snellen chart value to ability to benefit from x angular resolution? It's not as simple as that.

@malcolm82
I wanted you to check out their (NHK) research on subject.

0 upvotes
beholder1
By beholder1 (Aug 2, 2012)

"Then" of course our visually data induced brains will have all known realms of visual information processing. E.G. - http://gizmodo.com/5843117/scientists-reconstruct-video-clips-from-brain-activity . At least that is where it looks like a few disciplines are heading. Can you see ad-space streamed live to your visual cortex? How is that for real-time quality? Of course if so the photographic possibilities become almost an issue of time and of distances traveled in real-time. Quality will be only reduced by neural visual capacity. - * A real Brain "Boink"! ;)
P.S.- if you read the linked page you will see I was quoting the author when I spoke of 20\20 central vision acuity. Please refer to his cites on request. Oh "simple", of course its not simple but its a start to the gravity of the situation. Private messaging is allowed here too btw. ;)

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 2, 2012)

@Randomoneh
I found a few articles and also saved a PDF. :)
It is close to my own estimates, what Apple calls retina looks very good but is still obviously lacking for small detail, 1.5x retina can be indistinguishable from perfect on most images while 2x retina given proper sharpening can be perfect on nearly anything in practice. 7680x4320 approximately meets the 1.5x point for a 28mm equiv 75° field of view which is why i consider that a minimum for a truly high quality display for a decent field of view. Too bad 3840x2160 is yet to be released...

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Aug 2, 2012)

When you gaze at a landscape, only a small swath of the field of view will be covered by focal vision. For the rest, low res will suffice. Panning or zoom/crop will cover select details.

0 upvotes
Randomoneh
By Randomoneh (Aug 2, 2012)

@Cy Chaze

But you'll move your eyes around thus every part of display has to match the limitation of your eyes - from nearest (center) to farthest (edges).

0 upvotes
malcolm82
By malcolm82 (Aug 3, 2012)

Exactly. Cy Cheze do you always keep your eyes fixed exactly on the center of your display?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 49