Google Patent | Multi-Camera Navigation Interface

Patent: Multi-Camera Navigation Interface

Publication Number: 20190222748

Publication Date: 20190718

Applicants: Google

Abstract

An interface is provided for navigating among views in a multi-camera environment. In addition to providing improved ease of use, such an interface also provides an overview of the scene represented by the captured video, by virtue of the positioning of various user interface elements representing different camera views. The navigation interface includes a number of selectable user interface elements, arranged in a fashion that approximates the physical positions of the cameras. Tapping or clicking on one of the elements causes a main window to display a current view from a corresponding camera or video feed. The navigation interface can be implemented, for example, in a live video capture system, or in a post-production system.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 15/084,326 for “Capturing Light-Field Volume Image and Video Data Using Tiled Light-Field Cameras” (Atty. Docket No. LYT217), filed Mar. 29, 2016, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0002] The present application is related to U.S. application Ser. No. 15/582,237 for “Image Capture for Virtual Reality Displays” (Atty. Docket No. LYT237), filed Apr. 28, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0003] The present application is also related to U.S. application Ser. No. 15/590,877 for “Spatial Random Access Enabled Video System with a Three-Dimensional Viewing Volume” (Atty. Docket No. LYT266), filed May 9, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

[0004] The present application is also related to U.S. application Ser. No. 15/590,951 for “Wedge-Based Light-Field Video Capture” (Atty. Docket No. LYT267), filed May 9, 2017, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0005] The present document relates to improved techniques for navigating among camera views in a multi-camera system.

BACKGROUND

[0006] The above-referenced related applications describe multi-camera systems wherein views from multiple cameras are combined to generate, for example, a light-field image or video stream that can be used in generating virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) content.

[0007] In many software applications for content creation, it is useful to navigate among views from multiple cameras. One such example is Nuke, a compositing suite available from Foundry, of London, United Kingdom. In generating VR or AR content, it is often necessary to navigate among dozens of video feeds, which can be challenging if the navigation interface is not clear and intuitive.

SUMMARY

[0008] In various embodiments, an improved interface is provided for navigating among views in a multi-camera environment. In addition to providing improved ease of use, such an interface also provides an overview of the scene represented by the captured video, by virtue of the positioning of various user interface elements representing different camera views.

[0009] In at least one embodiment, the navigation interface includes a number of selectable user interface elements, arranged in a fashion that approximates the physical positions of the cameras. Each element corresponds to one of the cameras. Tapping or clicking on one of the elements causes a main window to display a current view from the corresponding camera or video feed. In at least one embodiment, each element identifies the camera to which it corresponds, for example by a label, icon, number, or the like. In another embodiment, each element is a thumbnail image of a representative view from the corresponding camera. The thumbnail image can be a still image, or it can be a video stream displaying a view from the corresponding camera (which may be either a live view or a recorded view). The video stream can optionally be accompanied by identifying information, labels, captions, timing data, and/or the like.

[0010] In at least one embodiment, the navigation interface can be implemented in a live video capture system, so as to facilitate navigation among live video feeds during capture. In such an embodiment, the selectable user interface elements can represent live images from the cameras of a multi-camera rig, allowing the user to select and/or control cameras during capture operations. The user interface elements are arranged in a fashion that approximates the physical positions of the cameras from which the live views are being captured. Tapping or clicking on an element causes the main window to display the live video feed from the corresponding camera. In at least one embodiment, multiple elements can be selected simultaneously, so that the main screen shows multiple views at the same time.

[0011] In another embodiment, the navigation interface can be implemented in a post-production system, so as to facilitate navigation among previously captured video feeds during capture. In such an embodiment, the selectable user interface elements can represent various video feeds captured from different cameras of a multi-camera rig, allowing the user to select among the various feeds during post-processing operations. The elements are arranged in a fashion that approximates the physical positions of the cameras from which the views were captured. Tapping or clicking on an element causes the main window to display the captured video from the corresponding camera. In at least one embodiment, multiple elements can be selected simultaneously, so that the main screen shows multiple views at the same time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The accompanying drawings illustrate several embodiments. Together with the description, they serve to explain the principles of the embodiments. One skilled in the art will recognize that the particular embodiments illustrated in the drawings are merely exemplary, and are not intended to limit scope.

[0013] FIG. 1A is a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views during live capture, according to one embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 1B is a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views during post-production, according to one embodiment.

[0015] FIG. 1C is a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views as implemented on a camera system, according to one embodiment.

[0016] FIG. 2 depicts an example of a multi-camera system.

[0017] FIG. 3 is a diagram depicting the use of a camera system such as that of FIG. 2 to capture a 360.degree. view of a scene in five wedge-shaped portions, according to one embodiment.

[0018] FIG. 4A is a flow chart depicting a method for implementing a user interface for navigating among different live camera views, according to one embodiment.

[0019] FIG. 4B is a flow chart depicting a method for implementing a user interface for navigating among stored video streams corresponding to different camera views, according to one embodiment.

[0020] FIGS. 5A through 5C depict examples of a user interface for displaying and navigating among different camera views, according to one embodiment.

[0021] FIGS. 6A through 6D depict examples of a user interface for selecting a camera view, according to one embodiment.

[0022] FIGS. 7A through 7E depict additional examples of a user interface for navigating among different camera views, according to various embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Definitions

[0023] For purposes of the description provided herein, the following definitions are used:

TABLE-US-00001 Light-field image A four-dimensional sample representing information carried by ray bundles of light depicting an environment. Each ray may be indexed by a standard four-dimensional coordinate system. Light-field volume The combination of all images captured into a single data set. A light-field volume may be fully or sparsely sampled. Capture system Any system usable for capturing images, video, light-field images, virtual reality images, augmented reality images, and/or a light-field volume. One example of a capture system is an array of cameras used to capture a light-field volume. Other examples include a camera system and a light- field camera (including a plenoptic light-field camera or a tiled camera array). Light-field camera A device that can capture a light-field image. Plenoptic light- A microlens-based implementation of a light-field camera, field camera wherein a plenoptic microlens array is inserted between the objective lens and the photosensor, as described in more detail in the above-referenced related applications. Plenoptic A microlens array in a plenoptic camera that is used to microlens array capture the directional information. Each microlens in the array may create an image of the aperture stop of the objective lens on the surface of the sensor, as described in more detail in the above-referenced related applications. Tiled camera array A specific implementation of a light-field camera, containing an array of objective lenses with overlapping fields-of- view and one or more photosensors. Virtual reality An immersive viewing experience, typically delivered by a (VR) VR headset or other device. Viewing volume A volume in three-dimensional space for which the data exists to render virtual views. A viewing volume may have any shape. Augmented reality An immersive viewing experience that includes a combination (AR) of virtual reality elements with real-world surroundings and objects, typically delivered by an AR headset or other device. Video stream Video data that can be used to generate one or more views of a scene for display for a viewer. View The subset of a multi-view video stream pertaining to a single viewpoint. Data store One or more devices that store data temporarily or on a lasting basis, in volatile and/or nonvolatile form. Input device Any device that captures user input. Processor Any device capable of processing information in digital form.

[0024] In addition, for ease of nomenclature, the terms “camera”, “rig”, and “capture system” are used herein to refer to image capture devices or other data acquisition devices. Such data acquisition devices can be any device, rig, system, or combination for acquiring, recording, measuring, estimating, determining and/or computing data representative of a scene, including but not limited to two-dimensional image data, three-dimensional image data, virtual reality (VR) data, augmented reality (AR) data video, volumetric video, and/or light-field data. Such data acquisition devices may include optics, sensors, and image processing electronics for acquiring data representative of a scene, using techniques that are well known in the art. One skilled in the art will recognize that many types of data acquisition devices can be used in connection with the present disclosure, and that the disclosure is not limited to particular types of cameras, rigs, or capture systems. Thus, the use of the terms “camera”, “rig”, and “capture system” herein is intended to be illustrative and exemplary, but should not be considered to limit the scope of the disclosure. Specifically, any use of such term herein should be considered to refer to any suitable device for acquiring video, image data, VR data, and/or AR data.

[0025] Furthermore, the techniques and methods presented herein may be used in connection with a wide variety of camera and rig types. Even though several examples utilize a tiled camera array, one of skill in the art will recognize how the described methods and techniques could be applied to other types of light-field cameras and/or image capture systems, such as plenoptic light-field cameras.

Architecture

[0026] Referring now to FIG. 1A, there is shown a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views during live capture, according to one embodiment.

[0027] Camera system 200 includes a rig 101, which in turn includes any number of cameras 102 configured to capture video representing a scene. Cameras 102 can be positioned according to any suitable arrangement; in at least one embodiment, they are positioned in a planar arrangement wherein they all point in the same direction but capture different views of the scene. In other embodiments, cameras 102 can be positioned in a non-planar arrangement. Examples of different arrangements for cameras 102 of rig 101 are set forth in the above-referenced related applications. The particular configuration depicted in FIG. 1A, wherein cameras 102 are arranged in a planar grid to form a hexagon, is merely exemplary.

[0028] In at least one embodiment, cameras 102 are configured to capture various views of a scene for purposes of constructing a virtual reality environment or augmented reality environment. Thus, cameras 102 may be positioned so that the video streams they capture can be assembled in a manner that allows a user to interact and move within the environment, for example by changing his or her position and/or orientation. As is known in the art, during playback, in response to such changes, the view presented to the user is changed so as to simulate an actual physical environment through which the user can navigate.

[0029] In at least one embodiment, the system also includes computing device 103, which includes various components for receiving images from camera system 200, presenting such images to user 111, and receiving input from user 111 to control the displayed view. Computing device 103 can be a computer, tablet, laptop, smartphone, kiosk, set-top box, and/or any other electronic device or combination of electronic devices, although for illustrative purposes it is depicted herein as a single device. In at least one embodiment, computing device 103 operates under the control and direction of software run by processor 104. In various embodiments, the functionality described herein can be implemented as a stand-alone software application or as a plug-in for any software application for controlling a camera system.

[0030] Computing device 103 also includes memory 105 that can be used by processor 104 in performing its operations and running software, and/or for buffering video data received from camera system 200. Output device 108 may include, for example, one or more display screens for presenting video output to user 111. Communications interface 109 can be any electronic component suited for receiving video data from camera system 200. Video processing component 110 can be any suitable electronic or software component for processing such video data as appropriate for display on output device 108, in accordance with the techniques described herein. User input device 107 can be any suitable input device operable by user 111 to control, for example, the display of video data on output device 108. In various embodiments, user input device 107 can be a touchscreen, mouse, joystick, keyboard, trackball, stylus, and/or any combination thereof. Data storage 106, which may be internal or external with respect to device 103, can be used for storing video data from camera system 200 and/or other data, such as a record of user 111 actions and selections with respect to the video data, for future use.

[0031] Referring now to FIG. 1B, there is shown a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views during post-production, according to one embodiment. The architecture depicted in FIG. 1B is similar to that of FIG. 1A, except that camera system 200 and rig 101 are omitted, as computing device 103 retrieves video data from video data store 112 rather than from camera system 200. Video data in video data store 112 may include, for example, video and/or images previously captured by a camera system (such as camera system 200) and stored in data store 112, or it can come from other sources. In this manner, device 103 can be used for controlling playback and editing of data in a post-production context wherein video data was previously captured and stored. Such an embodiment may be used, for example, in editing of a virtual reality presentation, augmented reality presentation, or other type of immersive multi-camera presentation. In at least one such embodiment, the system is implemented as a plug-in for a visual effects software application such as Nuke (a compositing suite available from Foundry, of London, United Kingdom), or as a stand-alone software application or plug-in for any other post-processing system.

[0032] Referring now to FIG. 1C, there is shown a block diagram depicting an overall architecture of a system for implementing a user interface for navigating among different camera views as implemented on a camera system, according to one embodiment. Here, various components such as processor 104, output device 108, video processing module 110, user input device 107, and memory 105 are components of camera system 200 itself, rather than a separate computing device. For example, output device 108 can be implemented as a screen on camera rig 101. Such an arrangement allows user 111 to manipulate and control camera system 200 based on the output displayed on output device 108. In addition, in at least one embodiment, user 111 interacts with user input device 107 to control the operation of camera system 200. In other respects, the architecture depicted in FIG. 1C operates similarly to that of FIG. 1A.

[0033] Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown an example of a multi-camera system 200 that can be used in connection with the apparatus of FIG. 1A or 1C, according to one embodiment, or for capturing the video data stored in video data store 112 of FIG. 1B. Rig 101 includes a set of cameras 102, which may be arranged to define a planar array having a generally hexagonal shape. One skilled in the art will recognize that other arrangements and shapes are possible. Each of the cameras 102 may be a plenoptic light-field camera as described in the above-referenced related applications, or a conventional camera of any type known in the art. Video data and/or image data captured by cameras 102 may be combined to define a light-field even if cameras 102 are conventional cameras. According to some examples, each camera 102 may have a field-of-view encompassing an angle of 90.degree., both vertically and horizontally. Camera system 200 may optionally include a synchronization trigger (not shown) that can be used to automatically activate cameras 102 in rig 101, audio recording equipment (not shown), and/or audio playback equipment (not shown) to facilitate synchronization of video captured by cameras 102 in rig 101 with audio and/or video captured by cameras 102 in rig 101 at different orientations.

[0034] In at least one embodiment, cameras 102 may be secured to a plate 230, which may be rotatably coupled to a frame 240. Plate 230 may be selectively angled relative to frame 240 to permit cameras 102 to be oriented horizontally as shown, or tilted upward or downward. Frame 240 may be rotatably coupled to a base 250. A motor (not shown) may optionally be coupled to frame 240 to rotate frame 240 relative to base 250. The rotation may be about an axis 260.

[0035] The ability to rotate frame 240 on base 250 may enable rig 101 to be easily oriented each time an image is captured. Further, as described in the above-referenced related applications, cameras 102 may be used to capture volumetric video and/or light-field volume data, permitting a view to be generated from any viewpoint within a viewing volume, as determined by the position and/or orientation of the viewer’s head. Thus, camera system 200 may be used to facilitate video capture for virtual reality, augmented reality, and/or other interactive applications.

[0036] In at least one embodiment, video data and/or image data captured by rig 101 is transmitted directly to communications interface 109 of computing device 103, and such data is used in the manner described herein to manipulate live video. In another embodiment, video data and/or image data captured by rig 101 is stored at video data store 112, and used at a later time during post-processing operations.

[0037] In at least one embodiment, camera system 200 may be used to capture video data representing a scene via sequential capture of five wedge-shaped portions of the scene. As described in the above-referenced related applications, the five captured videos may be combined to generate a combined video depicting a 360.degree. view of the scene. Capture of five wedge-shaped portions is merely exemplary; one skilled in the art will recognize that a camera system may be used to capture a scene divided into a different number of portions, which may not necessarily be wedge-shaped. A camera system used to capture a different number of wedges (for example, two, three, four, six, seven, or eight wedges) may have a different field-of-view, or may have the same field-of-view as camera system 200 depicted in FIG. 2.

[0038] Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a diagram 300 depicting the use of camera system 200 such as that of FIG. 2 to capture a 360.degree. view of a scene 310 in five wedge-shaped portions 320, according to one embodiment. As shown, each wedge-shaped portion 320 may have a field-of-view 330, which may include the fields-of-view of all of cameras 102 of camera system 200. Cameras 102 at the left and right points of the hexagonal shape of the planar array of cameras 102 may define the horizontal extents of field-of-view 330 for each wedge-shaped portion 320.

[0039] Further, each wedge-shaped portion 320 may have a safe action zone 340 that is a subset of field-of-view 330 for that wedge-shaped portion 320. In at least one embodiment, safe action zone 340 for a wedge-shaped portion 320 may be the portion of field-of-view 330 for that wedge-shaped portion 320 that is not included in field-of-view 330 of any other wedge-shaped portion 320. Outside of safe action zones 340, each field-of-view 330 may include two overlapping portions 350, each of which overlaps with field-of-view 330 of adjacent wedge-shaped portion 320.

[0040] In at least one embodiment, camera system 200 may be rotated sequentially so that it captures video for each wedge-shaped portion 320 in sequence. Thus, camera system 200 may first be oriented to capture field-of-view 330 labeled “Capture 1” Then, camera system 200 may be rotated such that camera system 200 is oriented to capture field-of-view 330 labeled “Capture 2,” and then rotated in like manner to capture fields-of-view 330 labeled “Capture 3,” “Capture 4,” and “Capture 5.” Such techniques are further described in the above-referenced related applications.

Method

[0041] Referring now to FIG. 4A, there is shown a flow chart depicting a method for implementing a user interface for navigating among different live camera views, according to one embodiment. The method depicted in FIG. 4A can be used, for example, in connection with the architecture depicted in FIG. 1A or 1C, although one skilled in the art will recognize that the method can be used in connection with other architectures as well.

[0042] The method begins 400. Computing device 103 receives 401 video data in a live stream as it is captured by camera system 200; the live stream includes video data from all cameras 102. Video from one (or more) of cameras 102 is displayed 402, for example on output device 108. Concurrently, a user interface is displayed 403, to allow user 111 to control the displayed video. In at least one embodiment, the user interface is displayed 403 on the same output device 108 as is the video from one (or more) of cameras 102. As described in more detail below, the user interface can include user interface elements arranged in a manner that approximates the physical arrangement of cameras 102 within rig 101. Such user interface elements can include on-screen buttons, links, descriptive text, icons, images, thumbnails, live video, and/or any combination thereof.

[0043] User 111 can select 404 one of the displayed user interface elements, for example by tapping on it or clicking on it with an on-screen cursor. In at least one embodiment, this causes the display on output device 108 to switch 405 to a view of a camera 102 corresponding to the selected user interface element. In at least one embodiment, steps 404 and 405 can be repeated any number of types, allowing user 111 to repeatedly select different cameras 102 and see the video stream being captured from each selected camera 102. In at least one embodiment, additional controls can also be provided to allow user 111 to control and/or manipulate the currently selected camera 102, for example by changing its orientation and/or other parameters. In at least one embodiment, the sequence and timing of user’s 111 selections of cameras 102 can be recorded, so as to provide an edit stream that can be used later in generating content.

[0044] Referring now to FIG. 4B, there is shown a flow chart depicting a method for implementing a user interface for navigating among stored video streams corresponding to different camera views, according to one embodiment. The method depicted in FIG. 4B can be used, for example, in connection with the architecture depicted in FIG. 1B to perform post-processing operations, although one skilled in the art will recognize that the method can be used in connection with other architectures as well.

[0045] The method begins 450. Computing device 103 receives 451 previously captured video data, for example from video data store 112; this can include video data from all cameras 102. Video from one (or more) of cameras 102 is displayed 402, for example on output device 108. Concurrently, a user interface is displayed 403, to allow user 111 to control the displayed video. In at least one embodiment, the user interface is displayed 403 on the same output device 108 as is the video from one (or more) of cameras 102. As described in more detail below, the user interface can include user interface elements arranged in a manner that approximates the physical arrangement of cameras 102 within rig 101. Such user interface elements can include on-screen buttons, links, descriptive text, icons, images, thumbnails, live video, and/or any combination thereof.

[0046] User 111 can select 404 one of the displayed user interface elements, for example by tapping on it, or clicking on it with an on-screen cursor. In at least one embodiment, this causes the display on output device 108 to switch 405 to a view that was previously captured by a camera 102 corresponding to the selected user interface element. In at least one embodiment, steps 404 and 405 can be repeated any number of types, allowing user 111 to repeatedly select different cameras 102 and see the video stream previously captured by each selected camera 102. In at least one embodiment, the sequence and timing of user’s 111 selections of cameras 102 can be recorded, so as to provide an edit stream that can be used later in generating content.

[0047] In both the methods of FIGS. 4A and 4B, in at least one embodiment, user 111 can also perform other operations on the selected video stream, such as editing operations for generating content.

User Interface

[0048] Referring now to FIGS. 5A through 5C, there are shown examples of a user interface for displaying and navigating among different camera views, according to various embodiments. The user interface depicted in these examples can be used in connection with either live views of video stream(s) from cameras 102 within rig 101, or previously captured video data retrieved from video data store 112. In at least one embodiment, the user interface as depicted in these examples can be presented on output device 108, which may be part of camera system 200 (as in the architecture of FIG. 1C) or may be part of a separate computing device 103 (as in the architecture of FIG. 1A or 1B). As depicted in these examples, the user interface provides a way to display live (or recorded) camera views from any number of individual cameras 102 within rig 101, in an on-screen configuration that makes clear the physical arrangement of the individual cameras 102.

[0049] FIG. 5A depicts example 500, in which a single video stream is displayed in main video window 501. Rig schematic display 502 shows a representation of rig 101, wherein each dot in display 502 represents a camera 102. In this example, the dot corresponding to the camera view currently being shown in main video window 501 is shown in a different color than the other dots in display 502, making it easy for user 111 to determine which camera view is being presented. In at least one embodiment, user 111 can tap or click on dots within display 502 to cause corresponding camera views to be shown. In at least one embodiment, dots act as toggles, so that a user can tap or click again to remove a currently displayed view from the screen. In at least one embodiment video window(s) 501 automatically resize as video streams are added or removed, so as to make best use of available screen space while still displaying all activated videos.

[0050] FIG. 5B depicts example 510, in which seven video streams are concurrently displayed in seven different video windows 501. In at least one embodiment, as shown in example 510, video windows 501 are arranged on-screen in a manner that approximates the relative physical positions of the corresponding cameras 102 from which the video streams originate. Again, rig schematic display 502 shows a representation of rig 101, wherein each dot in display 502 represents a camera 102. Here, seven dots are shown in a distinct color to indicate which camera views are currently being presented. As before, in at least one embodiment, user 111 can tap or click on dots within display 502 to cause corresponding camera views to be shown.

[0051] FIG. 5C depicts example 520, in which video streams from all cameras 102 in rig 101 are concurrently displayed in 61 different video windows 501. In at least one embodiment, as shown in example 520, video windows 501 are arranged onscreen in a manner that approximates the relative physical positions of the corresponding cameras 102 from which the video streams originate. Again, rig schematic display 502 shows a representation of rig 101, wherein each dot in display 502 represents a camera 102. Here, all of the dots are shown in the distinct color to that all camera views are currently being presented. As before, in at least one embodiment, user 111 can tap or click on dots within display 502 to cause corresponding camera views to be shown.

[0052] In at least one embodiment, certain predefined view configurations of camera views can be made available. For example, user 111 can click a button or otherwise activate a command that causes only the view from center camera 102 to be displayed (as in example 500). As another example, user 111 can click a button or otherwise activate a command that causes the view from center camera 102 along with views from six corner cameras 102 to be displayed (as in example 510). As another example, user 111 can click a button or otherwise activate a command that causes the views from all cameras 102 to be displayed (as in example 520). Any number of such predefined view configurations of camera views can be provided. In at least one embodiment, user 111 can also edit or define his or her own view configurations, and/or manually select a view configuration.

[0053] Referring now to FIGS. 6A through 6D, there are shown various screens depicting an example 600 of a user interface for selecting a camera view, according to one embodiment. The depicted user interface can be used in connection with either live views of video stream(s) from cameras 102 within rig 101, or previously captured video data retrieved from video data store 112. In at least one embodiment, the depicted user interface can be presented on output device 108, which may be part of camera system 200 (as in the architecture of FIG. 1C) or may be part of a separate computing device 103 (as in the architecture of FIG. 1A or 1B). As depicted in this example, the user interface provides a way to select wedges and/or individual cameras 102 within rig 101, wherein the controls for performing such selections are presented in an on-screen configuration that maps to the physical arrangement of the cameras 102 themselves.

[0054] Wedge selection tool 601 provides a mechanism for user 111 to select among five wedge-shaped portions, also referred to as “wedges” (corresponding to wedge-shaped portions 320 of FIG. 3). Each wedge includes some subset of the total views taken by all cameras 102 within rig 101; for example, a wedge may be one of five different sequentially captured views of the scene that can be combined to form a 360.degree. view of the scene, as described above in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3.

[0055] In at least one embodiment, wedge selection tool 601 includes five overlapping elongated rectangles 602, each representing a wedge. User 111 can select a wedge by tapping or clicking on one of rectangles 602. In other embodiments, other representations of wedges can be shown, with other mechanisms by which user 111 can select a wedge. Any number of wedges (or other subsets of views and/or cameras 102) can be provided, which can be selectable by user 111. Alternatively, the system can be implemented without any wedge selection tool 601 at all; in such a case, only the bottom portion of example 600 (containing camera selection tool 603) need be included. In the depicted example, user 111 has selected the wedge represented by rectangle 602A, which is currently highlighted.

[0056] Camera selection tool 603 includes a number of elements 604, each representing an individual camera 102. Each element 604 can be identified by a number, label, icon, thumbnail image, and/or any combination thereof. In at least one embodiment, camera selection tool 603 presents elements 604 that correspond to a subset of cameras 102 in rig 101, wherein the subset corresponds to the particular wedge selected via wedge selection tool 601. Thus, if user 111 selects a different wedge using wedge selection tool 601, a different set of elements 604 may be presented in camera selection tool 603; alternatively, the same set of elements 604 can be presented, but representing views taken from a different angle. In an alternative embodiment, camera selection tool 603 presents elements 604 that correspond to all views from all cameras 102 in rig 101, without any need to select a particular wedge or subset of views or cameras 102.

[0057] Notably, in at least one embodiment, elements 604 are positioned in an arrangement that approximates the physical arrangement of their corresponding cameras 102 in rig 101. This mapping between element positions 604 and physical camera positions makes it easier for user 111 to locate and select the correct element 604 for a particular desired camera 102.

[0058] In at least one embodiment, user 111 can tap or click on one or more elements 604 to select corresponding camera(s) 102. In at least one embodiment, live and/or recorded view(s) for the selected camera(s) 102 is/are displayed. In at least one embodiment, each element 604 acts as a toggle: tapping or clicking on it selects a corresponding camera 102 if it is currently unselected, or de-selects a corresponding camera 102 if it is currently selected. In the example of FIG. 6, the center element 604 (labeled “00000”) is highlighted indicating that it is currently selected and that the view from its corresponding camera 102 is currently being displayed. In this example, the highlighted element 604 is indicated with a black background that contrasts with the background of other elements 604; however, one skilled in the art will recognize that any technique can be used to visually distinguish the highlighted element 604 from other elements 604.

[0059] Other user interface elements can also be provided. Some examples are shown in FIGS. 6A through 6D, as follows: [0060] Drop-down menu 605 allows user 111 to select other rigs 101 to control, in an embodiment wherein multiple rigs 101 can be controlled by the same interface; [0061] Find rigs button 606 reloads camera 102 positions and finds new nodes, which causes the list in menu 605 to be populated. Rig nodes are identified by the presence of Camera nodes placed within a Group node. [0062] Highlight button 607 allows elements 604 to be highlighted using one of several modes, as shown in FIG. 6B. Elements 604 may be highlighted based on comma-delimited camera indexes stored in the clipboard. Elements 604 may also be highlighted based on another rig file, to show decimations, as shown in FIG. 6C, or colorized based on a particular group of cameras, as shown in FIG. 6D. [0063] Refresh button 608 updates the currently highlighted element 604. This is necessary if the active view is changed using some means other than the camera selection interface. [0064] Wedges button 609 includes a label that indicates the number of wedges and indicates the camera views included in each wedge. User 111 can click on button 609 to change these values. [0065] Wedge selection buttons 610 provide an alternative mechanism for selecting a wedge. This performs the same operation as does wedge selection tool 601. Buttons 610 also indicate which cameras 102 are associated with each wedge. [0066] Find box 611 allows a camera index to be entered, at which point the currently selected element is changed. If the element exists in a different wedge, the currently active wedge is also updated.

[0067] In at least one embodiment, keyboard shortcuts can be provided to navigate among camera views. Examples of keyboard shortcuts include: [0068] Ctrl+Alt+R: Open a new panel for selecting a rig 101. [0069] Ctrl+Shift+Up: Move to the next closest view above the current view. [0070] Ctrl+Shift+Down: Move to the next closest view below the current view. [0071] Ctrl+Shift+Left: Move to the next closest view to the left of the current view. [0072] Ctrl+Shift+Right: Move to the next closest view to the right of the current view. [0073] Ctrl+Shift+PageUp: Move to the next wedge. [0074] Ctrl+Shift+PageDown: Move to the previous wedge. [0075] Ctrl+Shift+Home: Move to the center view in the current wedge. [0076] Ctrl+Shift+End: Move to the last selected view. This can be used to toggle between two views. [0077] Ctrl+Shift+/: Activate and move cursor to Find box 611.

[0078] Referring now to FIGS. 7A through 7E, there are shown additional examples of a user interface for navigating among different camera views, according to various embodiments.

[0079] FIG. 7A depicts example 700. In this example, user 111 has used wedge selection tool 601 to select wedge 1, and has used camera selection tool 603 to select the camera labeled “00081”. Main video window 501 displays video captured by the camera labeled “00081”. Also included in example 700 is node graph 701, which depicts a sample Read node and camera rig node.

[0080] FIG. 7B depicts example 710. In this example, user 111 has used wedge selection tool 601 to select wedge 1, and has used camera selection tool 603 to select the camera labeled “00045”. Main video window 501 displays video captured by the camera labeled “00045”. Also included in example 710 is node graph 701.

[0081] FIG. 7C depicts example 720. In this example, user 111 is in the process of using wedge selection tool 601 to select wedge 5, and has used camera selection tool 603 to select the camera labeled “00461”. Main video window 501 displays video captured by the camera labeled “00461”. Also included in example 720 is node graph 701.

[0082] FIG. 7D depicts example 730. In this example, user 111 has used wedge selection tool 601 to select wedge 2, and has used camera selection tool 603 to select the camera labeled “00095”. Main video window 501 displays video captured by the camera labeled “00095”. Also included in example 730 is node graph 701.

[0083] FIG. 7E depicts example 740. In this example, user 111 has used wedge selection tool 601 to select the cameras not in any wedge, denoted by “Leftovers” 741, and has used camera selection tool 603 (which in this case only includes one camera selection button) to select the camera labeled “01000”. Main video window 501 displays video captured by the currently selected camera labeled “01000”. Also included in example 740 is node graph 701.

[0084] The above description and referenced drawings set forth particular details with respect to possible embodiments. Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the techniques described herein may be practiced in other embodiments. First, the particular naming of the components, capitalization of terms, the attributes, data structures, or any other programming or structural aspect is not mandatory or significant, and the mechanisms that implement the techniques described herein may have different names, formats, or protocols. Further, the system may be implemented via a combination of hardware and software, as described, or entirely in hardware elements, or entirely in software elements. Also, the particular division of functionality between the various system components described herein is merely exemplary, and not mandatory; functions performed by a single system component may instead be performed by multiple components, and functions performed by multiple components may instead be performed by a single component.

[0085] Reference in the specification to “one embodiment” or to “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least one embodiment. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

[0086] Some embodiments may include a system or a method for performing the above-described techniques, either singly or in any combination. Other embodiments may include a computer program product comprising a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium and computer program code, encoded on the medium, for causing a processor in a computing device or other electronic device to perform the above-described techniques.

[0087] Some portions of the above are presented in terms of algorithms and symbolic representations of operations on data bits within a memory of a computing device. These algorithmic descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. An algorithm is here, and generally, conceived to be a self-consistent sequence of steps (instructions) leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical, magnetic or optical signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared and otherwise manipulated. It is convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like. Furthermore, it is also convenient at times, to refer to certain arrangements of steps requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities as modules or code devices, without loss of generality.

[0088] It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise as apparent from the following discussion, it is appreciated that throughout the description, discussions utilizing terms such as “processing” or “computing” or “calculating” or “displaying” or “determining” or the like, refer to the action and processes of a computer system, or similar electronic computing module and/or device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the computer system memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission or display devices.

[0089] Certain aspects include process steps and instructions described herein in the form of an algorithm. It should be noted that the process steps and instructions of described herein can be embodied in software, firmware and/or hardware, and when embodied in software, can be downloaded to reside on and be operated from different platforms used by a variety of operating systems.

[0090] Some embodiments relate to an apparatus for performing the operations described herein. This apparatus may be specially constructed for the required purposes, or it may comprise a general-purpose computing device selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computing device. Such a computer program may be stored in a computer readable storage medium, such as, but is not limited to, any type of disk including floppy disks, optical disks, CD-ROMs, magnetic-optical disks, read-only memories (ROMs), random access memories (RAMs), EPROMs, EEPROMs, flash memory, solid state drives, magnetic or optical cards, application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and/or any type of media suitable for storing electronic instructions, and each coupled to a computer system bus. Further, the computing devices referred to herein may include a single processor or may be architectures employing multiple processor designs for increased computing capability.

[0091] The algorithms and displays presented herein are not inherently related to any particular computing device, virtualized system, or other apparatus. Various general-purpose systems may also be used with programs in accordance with the teachings herein, or it may prove convenient to construct more specialized apparatus to perform the required method steps. The required structure for a variety of these systems will be apparent from the description provided herein. In addition, the techniques set forth herein are not described with reference to any particular programming language. It will be appreciated that a variety of programming languages may be used to implement the techniques described herein, and any references above to specific languages are provided for illustrative purposes only.

[0092] Accordingly, in various embodiments, the techniques described herein can be implemented as software, hardware, and/or other elements for controlling a computer system, computing device, or other electronic device, or any combination or plurality thereof. Such an electronic device can include, for example, a processor, an input device (such as a keyboard, mouse, touchpad, trackpad, joystick, trackball, microphone, and/or any combination thereof), an output device (such as a screen, speaker, and/or the like), memory, long-term storage (such as magnetic storage, optical storage, and/or the like), and/or network connectivity, according to techniques that are well known in the art. Such an electronic device may be portable or non-portable. Examples of electronic devices that may be used for implementing the techniques described herein include: a mobile phone, personal digital assistant, smartphone, kiosk, server computer, enterprise computing device, desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, consumer electronic device, television, set-top box, or the like. An electronic device for implementing the techniques described herein may use any operating system such as, for example: Linux; Microsoft Windows, available from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Wash.; Mac OS X, available from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.; iOS, available from Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.; Android, available from Google, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.; and/or any other operating system that is adapted for use on the device.

[0093] In various embodiments, the techniques described herein can be implemented in a distributed processing environment, networked computing environment, or web-based computing environment. Elements can be implemented on client computing devices, servers, routers, and/or other network or non-network components. In some embodiments, the techniques described herein are implemented using a client/server architecture, wherein some components are implemented on one or more client computing devices and other components are implemented on one or more servers. In one embodiment, in the course of implementing the techniques of the present disclosure, client(s) request content from server(s), and server(s) return content in response to the requests. A browser may be installed at the client computing device for enabling such requests and responses, and for providing a user interface by which the user can initiate and control such interactions and view the presented content.

[0094] Any or all of the network components for implementing the described technology may, in some embodiments, be communicatively coupled with one another using any suitable electronic network, whether wired or wireless or any combination thereof, and using any suitable protocols for enabling such communication. One example of such a network is the Internet, although the techniques described herein can be implemented using other networks as well.

[0095] While a limited number of embodiments has been described herein, those skilled in the art, having benefit of the above description, will appreciate that other embodiments may be devised which do not depart from the scope of the claims. In addition, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been principally selected for readability and instructional purposes, and may not have been selected to delineate or circumscribe the inventive subject matter. Accordingly, the disclosure is intended to be illustrative, but not limiting.

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