Sky 3D and Sky Sports F1 viewers will be able to watch live action from the Circuit de Catalunya on all four days of the test – the last before the 2013 F1 season starts in Australia – from 28 February to 3 March. This will probably be the first stereo 3D broadcast from Formula 1 and though it is not from the season races it can give a good idea what we might expect to see if Formula 1 gets full stereoscopic 3D coverage. The very fast moving Formula 1 cars and the big tracks can turn out to be a bit of a challenge for shooting in 3D, adding on top of that the various locations of the races all around the world and the different conditions they take place in probably will make it difficult to have a full season coverage in 3D for now. However watching Forluma 1 in 3D could as well turn out to be a better experience that with some other sports we’ve already seen broadcast in 3D that did not look any better or become more interesting. And while the 3D coverage of the final tests at the Circuit de Catalunya migh not be the most action packed Formula 1 experience as it is not an actual race, if the results of that broadcast turn out good for both Sky and the Formua 1 fans we could at least hope for a Season 2014 in 3D as we are for sure not going to get this years races broadcast in 3D.
Sky 3D is available at no extra cost to Sky customers with the Sky World package, the HD pack and a 3D TV. F1 will be the 14th sport to be broadcast in 3D by Sky. The coverage will be presented by Simon Lazenby with commentary from David Croft and special guests.
The unprecedented coverage of pre-season testing on Sky 3D and the dedicated Formula 1 channel Sky Sports F1 HD will include:
- LIVE 3D COVERAGE – Every day of the final test from 28 February-3 March from 2pm on Sky 3D – also available live on Sky Sports F1 channel in 2D.
- DAILY COVERAGE – Every day of every test including daily features of Ted’s Test Notebook and a programme airing at 9pm on Sky Sports F1 HD in 2D.
- LIVE COVERAGE – Daily live reports from every test on Sky Sports News HD and live reports from Ted Kravitz in episodes of the F1 Show on 22 February and 1 March in 2D.
Tags:3d broadcast·Forluma 1·Forluma 1 3D·Sky·stereo 3d
Some good news for everyone that is expecting their Oculus Rift developer kit like me. The team at Oculus has shared some interesting information about final units and their production and has confirmed that they have finished the first pilot run at the factory for 40 complete units and are on track for starting the mass production by plan and have Oculus Rit dev kits start shipping in March. Hopefully there will be no extra delays caused by the upcoming Chinese New Year that starts in a few days. The delay that has moved the initially announced November/December 2012 release to March this year caused by the need to change the display used in the Rift has apparently also allowed the team at Oclulus to implement some new and interesting features in the final dev kits of the device and now that is is already finalized and in production they have shared more details about these as well.
One of the more serious concerns about the device was that it may not be suitable for people wearing contact lenses or prescription glasses, something that has been a bit of a problem for pretty much all consumer-oriented HMD devices we’ve seen so far becoming available on the market. It is not an easy task to properly block the external light and allow for the use of glasses and compromising with any of these can lead to compromises with the experience and when you are designing a device intended for better immersion such compromises are not a good idea. It is a fact that our eyes are not able to focus properly at objects very close to them, so that is why HMD devices have to use optics to allow our eyes to be able to properly focus on the displays inside them. And if you are having problems with your vision as many of us do nowadays you need to wear contact lenses or prescription glasses in order to be able to properly see the image produced by an HMD device such as the Rift.
The initial prototype of the Oculus Rift did not directly address the needs of people that wear contact lenses or prescription glasses, but the extra time that the team at Oclulus had due to the screen delay has allowed them to work on that issue. So the final dev kits will come with three pairs of removable eyecups, instead of just a single, permanent set. The different eyecups should allow to switch the focal distance of the developer kit between three predefined settings, so if you are nearsighted and your vision isn’t too bad, you may be able to use the developer kit without glasses or contacts.
Here is how the interchangeable eyecups will work:
- If you have normal vision (20/20 or 6/6 vision) or you wear contacts, your vision inside the Rift will match your vision in real life. You’ll have to use eyecup set A.
- If you’re farsighted, you’ll have no visual problems in the Rift because the optics are focused at infinity (which makes your brain think it’s looking at something far away). You’ll also have to use set A.
- If you’re nearsighted, the additional eyecups, B and C, should allow you to see inside the Rift as if you were wearing glasses. Again, this is because the lens cups change the focal distance. If you’re moderately nearsighted, you’ll have to use set B. If you’re very nearsighted, you’ll have to use set C.
Unfortunately there is no word yet what diopter ranges are the sets B and C going to cover, so it is hard to know if these will work for you or not and even if they work how well will they do. And while this solution is not perfect, it is better than nothing. The interchangeable eye cups with different lenses will be suitable only for nearsighted people, if you have other issues with your eyes such as astigmatism these will not help you. There however is another thing that may allow you to use the device with the standard eyecup set and your prescription glasses, this is the Adjustable Assembly solution – a geared mechanism that should allow you to extend and retract the assembly that holds the screen and the eyecups to position it comfortably. This means that you will be able to extend the assembly to provide extra clearance for glasses or a larger brow, though the size of the prescription glasses would probably matter much and you will be able to fit only smaller ones, though this could also lead to reduction of the FOV you get. If however you don’t need to wear glasses or need extra space you should be able to retract the assembly, bringing the lenses closer to your eyes, and thus increasing the field of view you will be getting.
If you have missed to join the effort in Kickstarter, you are still able to pre-order the Oculus Rift developer kit at the official website for $300 USD with estimated shipping date currently set for April 2013. Have in mind that this is for the same dev kit that everyone else will receive in March. The consumer version is apparently being worked on, but we are probably not going to be seeing it anytime this year, as developers will also need some time to implement support for the Rift in various games and applications, as currently there are only a few already announced.
- For some more details about the currently ongoing production of the Oculus Rift dev kits…
Tags:3d hmd·Oculus·Oculus Rift·Oculus Rit dev kit·Oculus Rit developer kit·stereo 3d
The Nvidia 3D Lightboost technology was originally designed for use in 3D monitors together with the company’s 3D Vision technology for stereoscopic 3D gaming with reduced crosstalk and improved level of brightness as compared to the older 3D Vison-ready monitors. Lately however 3D-capable monitors with support for 3D Lightboost technology are also creating a lot of interest among users not playing in stereoscopic 3D mode, but instead using them in 120Hz 2D mode and the reason is not only the higher refresh rates that these monitors support in 2D mode as well, but also due to the fact that you can relatively easy enable the 3D Lightboost technology in 2D mode as well. The advantage of using the 3D Lightboost technology in 2D mode is that the motion blur is being eliminated, making fast movements appear much smoother now as compared to using only 120Hz refresh rate with no 3D Lightboost enabled. What the 3D Lightboost technology does is to strobe the backlight instead of having it always on like on traditional monitors (it is on only when the whole frame is drawn and off between transitions while the next frame is being built), the side effect is that you get a reduction in the maximum brightness you get when 3D Lightboost is enabled. And while the benefit of having motion blur eliminated in 2D mode is definitely a good thing, what bothers some people is the lower brightness you get, so I took an Asus VG278H 3D monitor for a spin and played a bit with the brightness settings to see what you can do to get the most out of it if using it not only for stereo 3D gaming, but also for 120Hz 2D gaming with 3D Lightboost technology enabled as well.
Here is how the default color reproduction is with the Asus VG278H out of the box settings, this means 2D mode 120Hz refresh rate, Brightness set to 90 and Contrast set to 80. As you can see the maximum level of brightness the monitor is capable of at these settings is quite high, at over 400 cd/m2 it is very bright, so lowering the brightness from this level can be noticeable, especially if it is not just a slight decrease.
Calibrating the display for better color reproduction while trying to maintain the highest possible brightness level does produce very good results and the maximum brightness remains at a high value at 285 cd/m2. Now, you should be aware that over 400 cd/m2 is really an overkill brightness level for monitor that you will be spending hours for gaming, let alone if you also use it for work and other tasks. At 285 cd/m2 the brightness level is more tolerable, but can still be more tiring for the eyes of the person using it, especially for longer periods.
If you’ve read my review of the Asus VG278H 3D monitor for stereoscopic 3D use, than you probably have also seen my recommendation to lower the Contrast level to about 55 from the standard value of 76. This will significantly reduce the level of crosstalk you will be getting in stereo 3D mode as with the default value of 76 for the Contrast the crosstalk you get is annoying. Now, the interesting thing here is to measure what is the actual brightness you get with a setting for Contrast of 55 when you are in stereo 3D mode or in 2D mode with the 3D Lightboost enabled. I’ve got 102 cd/m2 which is a bit too low, really making the image seem much darker than what you get with the out of the box settings of the monitor in 2D mode when not using 3D Lightboost – it is more than four times lower here. So while having the Contrast of the monitor set to 55 does work well in stereo 3D mode, you’ll have to consider increasing it when you are playing in 2D mode with Lightboost enabled.
Increasing the Contrast to 76, the default value you have set by default for the Asus VG278H 3D monitor for stereoscopic 3D mode does bring the brightness up to about 151 cd/m2, making it much more comfortable for use in 2D mode with 3D Lightboost enabled (this level of brightness works good for me). And while this brightness is quite Ok, there is a bit more to be desired from the level of brightness, especially if you are used to playing with higher brightness levels.
Moving to Contrast value of 90 brings the brightness level to 180 cd/m2 which should be a good choice for people that find 150 cd/m2 still a bit dark, as you can see with a Contrast value of 76 and 90 the colors are not very accurately displayed, but that should not be much of a bother for gaming needs.
Doing a color calibration at a Contrast value of 90 however seem to bring the best results for me personally, 156 cd/m2 brightness level (works great for me) and very good color reproduction, though calibrating colors is only needed if you are going to be working with colors and then this monitor is probably not the best choice even though when calibrated it can bring out very good results.
Just out of curiosity I also went out to test with a Contrast value of 100, something that is not usually recommended as it pushes everything to the max. This brings up the maximum brightness level up to 192 cd/m2, but the color reproduction suffers more.
Not to mention that with a value of 100 for Contrast even calibrating the display you will get worse results with just a slight increase in the level of brightness. But as I’ve said already, doing a color calibration on a monitor that will be used mostly for gaming is not needed anyway. And even though that the Asus VG278H 3D monitor can produce very good results in terms of color reproduction after getting calibrated it remains a gaming monitor using a fast response TN LCD panel and it is targeted at gamers, both 2D and stereo 3D ones.
So what is the most important finding in terms of the brightness level you get when you have 3D Lightboost enabled in 2D mode as well? Using the default value of 76 for Contrast should work well for most people, though when playing in stereo 3D mode you might want to get that value lowered to something like 55 for less crosstalk. If Contrast set at 76 is still low in terms of brightness for your taste, then you can bring the value up to about 90 which should be Ok, but you should avoid going all the way up to a value of 100. In the end the level of brightness even with the 3D Lightboost technology enabled isn’t so bad if you bring the Contrast up a bit, it is not going to be as high as the over 400 cd/m2 that you can get without the 3D Lightboost technology in 2D mode, but that is a bit overkill level of brightness anyway and it is not recommended to be used if you value your vision.
Tags:120Hz Lightboost·3D Lightboost·Lightboost brightness·Lightboost in 2D·Lightboost in 3D·stereo 3d