Computing Now Exclusive Content — October 2011

News Archive

July 2012

Gig.U Project Aims for an Ultrafast US Internet

June 2012

Bringing Location and Navigation Technology Indoors

May 2012

Plans Under Way for Roaming between Cellular and Wi-Fi Networks

Encryption System Flaw Threatens Internet Security

April 2012

For Business Intelligence, the Trend Is Location, Location, Location

Corpus Linguistics Keep Up-to-Date with Language

March 2012

Are Tomorrow's Firewalls Finally Here Today?

February 2012

Spatial Humanities Brings History to Life

December 2011

Could Hackers Take Your Car for a Ride?

November 2011

What to Do about Supercookies?

October 2011

Lights, Camera, Virtual Moviemaking

September 2011

Revolutionizing Wall Street with News Analytics

August 2011

Growing Network-Encryption Use Puts Systems at Risk

New Project Could Promote Semantic Web

July 2011

FBI Employs New Botnet Eradication Tactics

Google and Twitter "Like" Social Indexing

June 2011

Computing Commodities Market in the Cloud

May 2011

Intel Chips Step up to 3D

Apple Programming Error Raises Privacy Concerns

Thunderbolt Promises Lightning Speed

April 2011

Industrial Control Systems Face More Security Challenges

Microsoft Effort Takes Down Massive Botnet

March 2011

IP Addresses Getting Security Upgrade

February 2011

Studios Agree on DRM Infrastructure

January 2011

New Web Protocol Promises to Reduce Browser Latency

To Be or NAT to Be?

December 2010

Intel Gets inside the Helmet

Tuning Body-to-Body Networks with RF Modeling

November 2010

New Wi-Fi Spec Simplifies Connectivity

Expanded Top-Level Domains Could Spur Internet Real Estate Boom

October 2010

New Weapon in War on Botnets

September 2010

Content-Centered Internet Architecture Gets a Boost

Gesturing Going Mainstream

August 2010

Is Context-Aware Computing Ready for the Limelight?

Flexible Routing in the Cloud

Signal Congestion Rejuvenates Interest in Cell Paging-Channel Protocol

July 2010

New Protocol Improves Interaction among Networked Devices and Applications

Security for Domain Name System Takes a Big Step Forward

The ROADM to Smarter Optical Networking

Distributed Cache Goes Mainstream

June 2010

New Application Protects Mobile-Phone Passwords

WiGig Alliance Reveals Ultrafast Wireless Specification

Cognitive Radio Adds Intelligence to Wireless Technology

May 2010

New Product Uses Light Connections in Blade Server

April 2010

Browser Fingerprints Threaten Privacy

New Animation Technique Uses Motion Frequencies to Shake Trees

March 2010

Researchers Take Promising Approach to Chemical Computing

Screen-Capture Programming: What You See is What You Script

Research Project Sends Data Wirelessly at High Speeds via Light

February 2010

Faster Testing for Complex Software Systems

IEEE 802.1Qbg/h to Simplify Data Center Virtual LAN Management

Distributed Data-Analysis Approach Gains Popularity

Twitter Tweak Helps Haiti Relief Effort

January 2010

2010 Rings in Some Y2K-like Problems

Infrastructure Sensors Improve Home Monitoring

Internet Search Takes a Semantic Turn

December 2009

Phase-Change Memory Technology Moves toward Mass Production

IBM Crowdsources Translation Software

Digital Ants Promise New Security Paradigm

November 2009

Program Uses Mobile Technology to Help with Crises

More Cores Keep Power Down

White-Space Networking Goes Live

Mobile Web 2.0 Experiences Growing Pains

October 2009

More Spectrum Sought for Body Sensor Networks

Optics for Universal I/O and Speed

High-Performance Computing Adds Virtualization to the Mix

ICANN Accountability Goes Multinational

RFID Tags Chat Their Way to Energy Efficiency

September 2009

Delay-Tolerant Networks in Your Pocket

Flash Cookies Stir Privacy Concerns

Addressing the Challenge of Cloud-Computing Interoperability

Ephemeralizing the Web

August 2009

Bluetooth Speeds Up

Grids Get Closer

DCN Gets Ready for Production

The Sims Meet Science

Sexy Space Threat Comes to Mobile Phones

July 2009

WiGig Alliance Makes Push for HD Specification

New Dilemnas, Same Principles:
Changing Landscape Requires IT Ethics to Go Mainstream

Synthetic DNS Stirs Controversy:
Why Breaking Is a Good Thing

New Approach Fights Microchip Piracy

Technique Makes Strong Encryption Easier to Use

New Adobe Flash Streams Internet Directly to TVs

June 2009

Aging Satellites Spark GPS Concerns

The Changing World of Outsourcing

North American CS Enrollment Rises for First Time in Seven Years

Materials Breakthrough Could Eliminate Bootups

April 2009

Trusted Computing Shapes Self-Encrypting Drives

March 2009

Google, Publishers to Try New Advertising Methods

Siftables Offer New Interaction Model for Serious Games

Hulu Boxed In by Media Conglomerates

February 2009

Chips on Verge of Reaching 32 nm Nodes

Hathaway to Lead Cybersecurity Review

A Match Made in Heaven: Gaming Enters the Cloud

January 2009

Government Support Could Spell Big Year for Open Source

25 Reasons For Better Programming

Web Guide Turns Playstation 3 Consoles into Supercomputing Cluster

Flagbearers for Technology: Contemporary Techniques Showcase US Artifact and European Treasures

December 2008

.Tel TLD Debuts As New Way to Network

Science Exchange

November 2008

The Future is Reconfigurable

Lights, Camera, Virtual Moviemaking

by George Lawton

Computer graphics have remade moviemaking, enabling the creation of virtual worlds, animations, images, and special effects that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible to achieve.

But until recently, the work of adding CG to live shots has had to take place after a movie has been filmed.

In these cases, directors generally must wait weeks to figure out what shots works best with the CG they want to use, said Marc Petit, senior vice president at Autodesk, a vendor of 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software.

They then must begin the costly and time-consuming process of reshooting scenes that should have been done differently.

Now, though, virtual moviemaking is starting to solve this problem.

Intro to virtual moviemaking

Virtual moviemaking — a type of augmented reality — superimposes computer-generated images, animation, and special effects over camera-captured scenes in real-time, said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a market-analysis firm.

This lets directors see the way a scene will look with CG while they're shooting it.

In some cases, they arrange monitors around a scene so that actors can see the special effects that will be used and perform accordingly.

Directors can also try out different effects during filming and change the lighting, camera angles, or other aspects of the way a scene is shot in conjunction with the graphics.

All this is difficult or impractical when the director must add the CG after finishing the live shooting.

Virtual moviemaking has already been deployed in big-budget movies such as James Cameron's Avatar, the first to use the technique extensively, as well as Steven Spielberg's Tintin and Robert Zemeckis' Christmas Carol.

Moviemaking takes a virtual turn

Directors use standard CG techniques to create the graphics they plan to use in scenes.

While shooting scenes with actors, they use multiple cameras to capture high-resolution imagery of the performers from different perspectives. This lets the directors choose the angles they like best during the editing process.

Products such as Autodesk MotionBuilder receive and integrate live-scene and CG data captured by camera, motion-capture, facial-expression-capture, animation, and other equipment so that directors and others can see them together.

The systems generate views of a movie through a peripheral designed to look like a traditional camera viewfinder.

Various tools lets users manipulate the resulting blended scenes, changing elements such as lighting and viewing perspective.

The Gamecaster GCS3 peripheral communicates with the master system via a USB port and renders the computed scene on its display. The device has sensors that identify the way users rotate or otherwise move the device, allowing directors to see scenes from multiple angles and perspectives.

Virtual-moviemaking systems have changed the film-production process dramatically because, thanks to software and graphics-processing hardware improvements, they can produce useful low-resolution graphics that directors can view in real time, noted Rob Powers, vice president of 3D development at NewTek, a vendor of portable live-production and 3D-animation systems.

Once directors decide exactly how they want a scene to look, their crews can generate high-resolution versions of the selected graphics and create the final movie.

Down the road

Currently, Petit said, a basic system typically costs from $50,000 to $90,000.

However, the price is dropping, making them accessible to more studios.

And some hobbyists are working on lower-cost, lower-quality versions using $150 Microsoft Kinect motion-sensing systems and tablet computers, Petit explained.

He noted that virtual moviemaking's rise could create problems, as well as benefits.

For example, he said, using virtual moviemaking to create various effects could eliminate or reduce the use of lighting, set design, and other craftsmen, which could generate union resistance.

Nonetheless, he anticipated that virtual moviemaking will have a profound affect not only cinema but also on fields such as television and video games.

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