FlySPEC

Remote real-time video camera control

FlySPEC is a video camera system designed for real-time remote operation. A hybrid design combines the high resolution of an optomechanical video camera with the wide field of view always available from a panoramic camera. The control system integrates requests from multiple users so that each controls a virtual camera. The control system seamlessly integrates manual and fully automatic control. It supports a range of options from untended automatic to full manual control. The system can also learn control strategies from user requests. Additionally, the panoramic view is always available for an intuitive interface, and objects are never out of view regardless of the zoom factor. We present the system architecture, an information-theoretic approach to combining panoramic and zoomed images to optimally satisfy user requests, and experimental results that show the FlySPEC system significantly assists users in a remote inspection tasks.

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2004
Publication Details
  • Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science - Advances in Multimedia Information Processing, Proc. PCM 2004 5th Pacific Rim Conference on Multimedia, Tokyo, Japan
  • Dec 1, 2004

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For some years, our group at FX Palo Alto Laboratory has been developing technologies to support meeting recording, collaboration, and videoconferencing. This paper presents several systems that use video as an active interface, allowing remote devices and information to be accessed "through the screen." For example, SPEC enables collaborative and automatic camera control through an active video window. The NoteLook system allows a user to grab an image from a computer display, annotate it with digital ink, then drag it to that or a different display. The ePIC system facilitates natural control of multi-display and multi-device presentation spaces, while the iLight system allows remote users to "draw" with light on a local object. All our systems serve as platforms for researching more sophisticated algorithms to support additional functionality and ease of use.
2003
Publication Details
  • Proc. ACM Multimedia 2003, pp. 546-554
  • Nov 1, 2003

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We present a system that allows remote and local participants to control devices in a meeting environment using mouse or pen based gestures "through" video windows. Unlike state-of-the-art device control interfaces that require interaction with text commands, buttons, or other artificial symbols, our approach allows users to interact with devices through live video of the environment. This naturally extends our video supported pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera control system, by allowing gestures in video windows to control not only PTZ cameras, but also other devices visible in video images. For example, an authorized meeting participant can show a presentation on a screen by dragging the file on a personal laptop and dropping it on the video image of the presentation screen. This paper presents the system architecture, implementation tradeoffs, and various meeting control scenarios.
Publication Details
  • Proc. IEEE Intl. Conf. on Image Processing
  • Sep 14, 2003

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This paper presents a video acquisition system that can learn automatic video capture from human's camera operations. Unlike a predefined camera control system, this system can easily adapt to its environment changes with users' help. By collecting users' camera-control operations under various environments, the control system can learn video capture from human, and use these learned skills to operate its cameras when remote viewers don't, won't, or can't operate the system. Moreover, this system allows remote viewers to control their own virtual cameras instead of watching the same video produced by a human operator or a fully automatic system. The online learning algorithm and the camera management algorithm are demonstrated using field data.
Publication Details
  • Proceedings of INTERACT '03, pp. 583-590.
  • Sep 1, 2003

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In a meeting room environment with multiple public wall displays and personal notebook computers, it is possible to design a highly interactive experience for manipulating and annotating slides. For the public displays, we present the ModSlideShow system with a discrete modular model for linking the displays into groups, along with a gestural interface for manipulating the flow of slides within a display group. For the applications on personal devices, an augmented reality widget with panoramic video supports interaction among the various displays. This widget is integrated into our NoteLook 3.0 application for annotating, capturing and beaming slides on pen-based notebook computers.
Publication Details
  • 2003 International Conference on Multimedia and Expo
  • Jul 6, 2003

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This paper presents an information-driven audiovisual signal acquisition approach. This approach has several advantages: users are encouraged to assist in signal acquisition; available sensors are managed based on both signal characteristics and users' suggestions. The problem formulation is consistent with many well-known empirical approaches widely used in previous systems and may provide analytical explanations to these approaches. We demonstrate the use of this approach to pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera management with field data.
2002
Publication Details
  • ACM Multimedia 2002
  • Dec 1, 2002

Abstract

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FlySPEC is a video camera system designed for real-time remote operation. A hybrid design combines the high resolution possible using an optomechanical video camera, with the wide field of view always available from a panoramic camera. The control system integrates requests from multiple users with the result that each controls a virtual camera. The control system seamlessly integrates manual and fully automatic control. It supports a range of options from untended automatic to full manual control, and the system can learn control strategies from user requests. Additionally, the panoramic view is always available for an intuitive interface, and objects are never out of view regardless of the zoom factor. We present the system architecture, an information-theoretic approach to combining panoramic and zoomed images to optimally satisfy user requests, and experimental results that show the FlySPEC system significantly assists users in a remote inspection tasks.
Publication Details
  • IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo 2002
  • Aug 26, 2002

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This paper presents a camera system called FlySPEC. In contrast to a traditional camera system that provides the same video stream to every user, FlySPEC can simultaneously serve different video-viewing requests. This flexibility allows users to conveniently participate in a seminar or meeting at their own pace. Meanwhile, the FlySPEC system provides a seamless blend of manual control and automation. With this control mix, users can easily make tradeoffs between video capture effort and video quality. The FlySPEC camera is constructed by installing a set of Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras near a high-resolution panoramic camera. While the panoramic camera provides the basic functionality of serving different viewing requests, the PTZ camera is managed by our algorithm to improve the overall video quality that may affect users watching details. The video resolution improvements from using different camera management strategies are compared in the experimental section.
Publication Details
  • SPIE ITCOM 2002
  • Jul 31, 2002

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We present a framework, motivated by rate-distortion theory and the human visual system, for optimally representing the real world given limited video resolution. To provide users with high fidelity views, we built a hybrid video camera system that combines a fixed wide-field panoramic camera with a controllable pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera. In our framework, a video frame is viewed as a limited-frequency representation of some "true" image function. Our system combines outputs from both cameras to construct the highest fidelity views possible, and controls the PTZ camera to maximize information gain available from higher spatial frequencies. In operation, each remote viewer is presented with a small panoramic view of the entire scene, and a larger close-up view of a selected region. Users may select a region by marking the panoramic view. The system operates the PTZ camera to best satisfy requests from multiple users. When no regions are selected, the system automatically operates the PTZ camera to minimize predicted video distortion. High-resolution images are cached and sent if a previously recorded region has not changed and the PTZ camera is pointed elsewhere. We present experiments demonstrating that the panoramic image can effectively predict where to gain the most information, and also that the system provides better images to multiple users than conventional camera systems.
2001
Publication Details
  • In Proceedings of Conference on Modeling and Design of Wireless Networks (ITCOM2001), Denver, Colorado, August 23-24 August 2001.
  • Aug 23, 2001

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This paper reports our design, and implementation of an automatic lecture-room camera-management system. The motivation for building this system is to facilitate online lecture access and reduce the expense of producing high quality lecture videos. The goal of this project is a camera-management system that can perform as a human video-production team. To achieve this goal, our system collects audio/video signals available in the lecture room and uses the multimodal information to direct our video cameras to interesting events. Compared to previous work--which has tended to be technology centric--we started with interviews with professional video producers and used their knowledge and expertise to create video production rules. We then targeted technology components that allowed us to implement a substantial portion of these rules, including the design of a virtual video director, a speaker cinematographer, and an audience cinematographer. The complete system is installed in parallel with a human-operated video production system in a middle-sized corporate lecture room, and used for broadcasting lectures through the web. The systemí*s performance was compared to that of a human operator via a user study. Results suggest that our system's quality is close to that of a human-controlled system.