(19)
(11)EP 3 340 611 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/31

(21)Application number: 16205281.5

(22)Date of filing:  20.12.2016
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04N 5/341  (2011.01)

(54)

AN APPARATUS AND ASSOCIATED METHODS FOR VIRTUAL REALITY SCENE CAPTURE

VORRICHTUNG UND ZUGEHÖRIGE VERFAHREN ZUR ERFASSUNG EINER VIRTUAL REALITY-SZENE

APPAREIL ET PROCÉDÉS ASSOCIÉS DESTINÉS À LA CAPTURE D'UNE SCÈNE DE RÉALITÉ VIRTUELLE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
27.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/26

(73)Proprietor: Nokia Technologies Oy
02610 Espoo (FI)

(72)Inventor:
  • Sanguinetti,, Alejandro
    00100 Helsinki (FI)

(74)Representative: Whiting, Gary et al
Venner Shipley LLP 5 Stirling House Stirling Road The Surrey Research Park
Guildford GU2 7RF
Guildford GU2 7RF (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2015/107257
US-A1- 2016 088 280
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Technical Field



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to the field of virtual reality and, in particular, to indicating stitching regions in a scene to be captured as a series of images by a virtual reality image capture apparatus. Associated methods and computer programs are also disclosed. Certain disclosed aspects/examples relate to portable electronic devices.

    Background



    [0002] Virtual reality (VR) may provide an immersive experience for a user. Post production editing of VR captured content (e.g. images and audio) can be challenging.

    [0003] WO2015/107257A1 describes a method, apparatus and computer program for performing, at a first apparatus, obtaining metadata configured to assist multiple-camera imaging of a scene; and distributing an optical indication of the metadata via the scene; and at a second apparatus: storing camera captured image information of the scene; and obtaining the metadata from the image information.

    Summary



    [0004] The present invention comprises a visual indicator provider, a virtual reality visual indicator apparatus, a method of using a visual indicator provider and a computer readable medium as defined in the claims. In a first example aspect there is provided a virtual reality visual indicator apparatus comprising: a virtual reality image capture device comprising a plurality of cameras configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene; and a visual indicator provider configured to:

    transmit, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    provide no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images.



    [0005] The virtual reality image of the scene may extend over 360° in a horizontal image capture plane.

    [0006] The respective plurality of images may be captured over 195° in a vertical image capture plane perpendicular to and centred about a horizontal image capture plane.

    [0007] The visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit a visual indicator comprising one or more of:

    a line indicating a boundary between adjacent captured images, wherein adjacent cameras of the plurality of cameras are configured to capture the adjacent captured images meeting at the boundary; and

    an area indicating an overlap region between adjacent captured images, wherein adjacent cameras of the plurality of cameras are configured to capture the overlap region between the adjacent captured images.



    [0008] The line or area may extend in one or more horizontal, vertical or other directions depending on the spatial relationship between adjacent cameras of the virtual reality image capture device.

    [0009] The visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating one or more of:

    boundary edges of the stitching region centred about a centre line of the stitching region; and

    a dimension of the stitching region with respect to the centre line of the stitching region.



    [0010] One or more of the size and the position of the stitching region may be configured to be variable according to a definable variable overlap region between adjacent images.

    [0011] The plurality of cameras of the virtual reality image capture device may be fixed in position relative to each other. In this case, the visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a change in location of the least one stitching region in response to a change in orientation of the virtual reality image capture device.

    [0012] At least one of the plurality of cameras of the virtual reality image capture device may be a directionally controllable camera configured to change direction so the field of view of the directionally controllable camera is changed, and the visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a correspondingly changed position of the stitching region. The visual indicator provider in this case may be a directionally controllable visual indicator configured to track a change in the location of the least one stitching region in response to a change in the field of view of the directionally controllable camera.

    [0013] The visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit, into the scene, one or more of:

    a horizon line normal to the gravity vector;

    an eye level line normal to the gravity vector at a predetermined eye-level height from ground level;

    one or more operating parameters of one or more cameras of the virtual reality image capture device;

    one or more of battery life, operating time and operating temperature (e.g. of the visual indicator provider and/or of the virtual reality image capture device).



    [0014] The at least one stitching region may be parallel with the gravity vector in the scene. The at least one stitching region may be considered to be vertical, and may run from floor to ceiling in an indoor scene, for example. This may be the case if adjacent cameras are located in the image capture plane perpendicular to the gravity vector (i.e. horizontally).

    [0015] The at least one stitching region may be normal to the gravity vector in the scene. The at least one stitching region may be considered to be horizontal. This may be the case if adjacent cameras are located perpendicularly in the image capture plane perpendicular to the gravity vector (i.e. the adjacent cameras are located in a plane parallel with the gravity vector, vertically).

    [0016] The virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider may each be configured to be repeatably user-fixed to each other. In some examples the virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider may be part of an integral virtual reality visual indicator apparatus.

    [0017] The virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider may be configured to be separate from and in communication with each other to allow for transmission of, and stopping transmission of, a visual indicator into the scene. For example, the virtual reality image capture device may be mounted in the middle of a room, and the visual indicator provider may be mounted above the virtual reality image capture device on the ceiling of the room. The virtual reality image capture device may communicate to the visual indicator provider that image capture is about to commence, so that the visual indicator provider can stop transmission of the visual indicator into the scene. The virtual reality image capture device may communicate to the visual indicator provider that no image capture is taking place, so that the visual indicator provider can transmit the visual indicator into the scene.

    [0018] One or more of the virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider may be configured to communicate with a remote controller to allow for operation of the one or more of the virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider to be performed remotely. For example, a laptop computer may be a remote controller located outside the scene to be captured. The remote apparatus may be configured to transmit commands to the virtual reality indicator apparatus to, for example, move the virtual reality image capture device, move a directionally controllable camera of the virtual reality image capture device, and control the visual indicator provider to adjust the transmission of visual indicators (e.g. the change the location and/or dimensions of transmitted visual indications of stitching regions).

    [0019] The visual indicator provider may comprise a laser and a curved mirror configured to provide a line of laser light for projection onto the scene to indicate the at least one stitching region. Depending on e.g. mirror curvature, the mirror may provide a (one-dimensional) line of laser light, or a (two-dimensional) area of laser light. Other optical processing may provide hatching lines in the stitching region in some examples.

    [0020] In a second example aspect there is provided a method of using a virtual reality visual indicator apparatus comprising a virtual reality image capture device comprising a plurality of cameras configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, and a visual indicator provider, the method comprising:

    transmitting, using the visual indicator provider, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    during capture of the respective plurality of images, providing no visual indicator.



    [0021] In a third example aspect there is provided a computer readable medium comprising computer program code stored thereon, the computer readable medium and computer program code being configured to, when run on at least one processor, perform the method of using a virtual reality visual indicator apparatus comprising a virtual reality image capture device comprising a plurality of cameras configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, and a visual indicator provider, the method comprising:

    transmitting, using the visual indicator provider, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    providing no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images.



    [0022] There is also disclosed a visual indicator provider configured to be communicably coupled to a virtual reality image capture device, the virtual reality image capture device comprising a plurality of cameras configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, wherein the visual indicator provider is configured to:

    transmit, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    provide no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images.



    [0023] The present disclosure includes one or more corresponding aspects, examples or features in isolation or in various combinations whether or not specifically stated (including claimed) in that combination or in isolation. Corresponding means and corresponding functional units (e.g. virtual reality image capture device, visual indicator provider) for performing one or more of the discussed functions are also within the present disclosure.

    [0024] Corresponding computer programs for implementing one or more of the methods disclosed are also within the present disclosure and encompassed by one or more of the described examples.

    [0025] The above summary is intended to be merely exemplary and non-limiting.

    Brief Description of the Figures



    [0026] A description is now given, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    figure 1 illustrates an example apparatus;

    figure 2 shows an example virtual reality visual indicator apparatus;

    figure 3 shows an example virtual reality visual indicator apparatus in use;

    figure 4 shows a virtual reality scene including stitching regions;

    figure 5 shows an example visual indicator provider;

    figure 6 shows a flowchart illustrating an example method; and

    figure 7 shows a computer readable medium.


    Description of Example Aspects



    [0027] Virtual reality (VR) may use a VR display comprising a headset, such as glasses or goggles or virtual retinal display, or one or more display screens that surround a user to provide the user with an immersive virtual experience. A virtual reality apparatus, using the VR display, may present multimedia VR content representative of a scene to a user to simulate the user being virtually present within the scene. The virtual reality scene may replicate a real world scene to simulate the user being physically present at a real world location or the virtual reality scene may be computer generated or a combination of computer generated and real world multimedia content. The virtual reality scene may be provided by a panoramic video (such as a panoramic live broadcast or pre-recorded content), comprising a video having a wide or 360° field of view (or more, such as above and/or below a horizontally oriented field of view). The user may then be presented with a VR view of the scene and may, such as through movement of the VR display (i.e. headset), move the VR view to look around the scene. Accordingly, a three-dimensional virtual reality space may be provided in which the virtual reality content is displayed and in which the user can look around and, optionally, explore by translation through the VR space.

    [0028] The VR content provided to the user may comprise live or recorded images of the real world, captured by a VR image/content capture device, for example. The VR content may provide photographic or video imagery over 360° horizontally and over 195° vertically in some examples. A VR content capture device may comprise one or more cameras and one or more (e.g. directional and/or ambient) microphones configured to capture the surrounding visual and aural scene from a point of view. An example VR content capture device is a Nokia OZO camera of Nokia Technologies Oy.

    [0029] Post-processing of VR captured images can be very technically complex, require the expertise of a skilled image editing engineer, require the use of specialist post-processing software, and require significant time and money to be expended in processing the captured images to form a seamless and convincing immersive VR image.

    [0030] With reference to Figure 1, a VR system 100 is shown for presenting VR content to a user. A store 102 is shown representing the VR content stored in a storage medium or transiently present on a data transmission bus as the VR content is captured and received by the VR apparatus 101. Creation and processing of the VR images for storage in the store 102 is described below. The VR content may be captured by at least one VR content capture device and may be live or recorded. A user may use a VR head set 103 or other VR display to view the VR content.

    [0031] In this embodiment the VR apparatus 101 may have only one processor 101A and one memory 101B but it will be appreciated that other embodiments may utilise more than one processor and/or more than one memory (e.g. same or different processor/memory types). The processor 101A may be a general purpose processor dedicated to executing/processing information received from other components, such as the VR apparatus 101, in accordance with instructions stored in the form of computer program code on the memory. The output signalling generated by such operations of the processor is provided onwards to further components, such as to the VR apparatus 101 for display of the object image to the user via a VR head set 103, for example.

    [0032] The memory 101B (not necessarily a single memory unit) is a computer readable medium (solid state memory in this example, but may be other types of memory such as a hard drive, ROM, RAM, Flash or the like) that stores computer program code. This computer program code stores instructions that are executable by the processor 101A, when the program code is run on the processor. The internal connections between the memory 101B and the processor 101A can be understood to, in one or more example embodiments, provide an active coupling between the processor 101A and the memory 101B to allow the processor 101Ato access the computer program code stored on the memory 101B.

    [0033] In this example the processor 101A and the memory 101B are all electrically connected to one another internally to allow for electrical communication between the respective components. In this example the components are all located proximate to one another so as to be formed together as an ASIC, in other words, so as to be integrated together as a single chip/circuit that can be installed into an electronic device. In other examples one or more or all of the components may be located separately from one another.

    [0034] Figure 2 shows an example virtual reality visual indicator apparatus 200 comprising a virtual reality image capture device (VR-ICD) 202 and a visual indicator provider 204. The VR-ICD 202 comprises a plurality of cameras 218A, 218B configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene. In this example three cameras 218A, 218B are visible around the circumference (equator) of the roughly spherical VR-ICD 202. Of course in other examples other shapes of VR-ICD 202 and other camera numbers and arrangements are possible. For example, there may be one or more cameras facing up away from ground level, and/or one or more cameras facing down towards the ground. In this example, the plurality of cameras 218A, 218B of the virtual reality image capture device 200 are fixed in position relative to each other (e.g. they may be hard-mounted in the housing of the VR-ICD 202.

    [0035] The centre of the field of view 206A, 206B of two adjacent cameras 218A, 218B are shown. The centre of the field of view 206A, 206B may be considered to be the direction that the camera 218A, 218B is facing. The fields of view of the cameras 218A, 218B may together capture a scene for use as a VR scene. For example, the combined fields of view of the cameras 218A, 218B around the circumference of the VR-ICD 202 may be combined to provide a 360° field of view horizontally. Each camera 218A, 218B can capture a corresponding field of view as an image of the surrounding scene. The resulting respective plurality of images from the respective cameras 218A, 218B are configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene.

    [0036] The visual indicator provider 204 in this example is configured to transmit a visual indicator comprising a line (in the direction of the midpoint 210 between camera fields of view 206A, 206B) indicating a boundary between adjacent captured images. The boundary is located at the stitching region in the scene where the images will be stitched together post-capture to provide the VR image. Adjacent cameras 218A, 218B of the plurality of cameras are configured to capture the adjacent captured images meeting at the boundary. While the direction 210 in Figure 2 is shown as a radial line which would project a point onto the scene, it will be understood that the visual indication could be provided by, for example, a curved mirror spreading a point visual indicator (e.g. a laser pointer) into a vertical line. In other examples the visual indicator may be an area, as described below.

    [0037] For example, two adjacent cameras may capture respective images of adjacent regions in a scene. The two images meet/overlap where each separate image has captured the same portion of the scene. This meeting/overlap region may be called the stitching region, because the two images are "stitched" together after image capture (during post-processing of the captured images) to form a composite image. Figure 2 illustrates an example indication of where the stitching region would be located in the scene, as the midpoint 208 of the centres of the field of view 206A, 206B, of the adjacent cameras 218A, 218B. In other examples, as discussed later, the stitching region need not necessarily be centred on the midpoint 208 between the centres of the fields of view 206A, 206B.

    [0038] The visual indicator provider 204 is configured to transmit, into the scene, a visual indicator 210 at a location of at least one stitching region 208 prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene. The visual indicator 204 provider may transmit, for example, laser light which is visible on the walls and objects in the scene where the stitching region of captured images of the scene will be. Transmitting a visual indicator may be called projecting a visual indicator. In some example, transmitting the visual indicator may comprise casting a shadow onto the surrounding scene (e.g. by shining light past an obstruction which will cast a shadow onto the scene, thereby transmitting a visual indication, as a shadow, of the stitching region). In this example, the direction of the transmitted visual indicator 210 is parallel to the midpoint 208 between the centres of the fields of view 206A, 206B of the cameras 206A, 206B.

    [0039] In this example, the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 are aligned by ensuring that an alignment marker 212 of the VR-ICD 202 is aligned with (is directly above) a corresponding alignment marker 214 of the visual indicator provider 204. The visual indicator provider 204 is aligned with the VR-ICD 202 such that it will transmit a visual indicator of a stitching region between the fields of view 206A, 206B of adjacent cameras 218A, 218B of the VR-ICD 202.

    [0040] Of course, while Figure 2 shows the direction of one transmitted visual indicator 210, the visual indicator provider 204 may transmit a visual indicator for more than one, or for all, stitching regions (e.g. between the fields of view of each adjacent pair of cameras). For example, for an apparatus comprising six cameras around the circumference (each having a field of view centred in the same image capture plane), there will be six stitching regions between each pair of adjacent cameras, and the visual indicator provider 204 may provide a visual indication of each of the six stitching regions. For an apparatus 200 comprising cameras 218A, 218B which do not all have a field of view directed in the same plane, the stitching regions may be more complex than a line/band.

    [0041] Providing a visual indication of a location in a scene which will be captured in a stitching region of images of the scene may help arrangement of the scene to reduce the burden of image post-processing. Stitching together images to create a VR scene image can be very technically complex and time consuming. It may be easier, quicker, and allow for a smoother transition between adjacent images in the combined VR image, if the complexity of the captured image in the stitching region is reduced.

    [0042] For example, it may be more difficult to stitch together images if the stitching region contains more detailed scenery. More detailed scenery may include, for example: a moving element (e.g. an actor, a vehicle, or an object blowing in a wind such as a tree or flag), a very detailed element (e.g. an intricately patterned furnishing or a plant with many small leaves and flowers), and certain textures and visual effects (e.g. a shiny metallic surface or velvet curtain, which appears differently depending on the angle at which light hits it).

    [0043] Conversely, it may be easier to stitch together images if the stitching region contains less detailed scenery. Less detailed scenery may include, for example: stationary elements (a rock, wall or solid furniture), less-detailed elements (e.g. a plain painted wall, a plain sky), and certain textures and visual effects (e.g. a matt effect painted wall, a smooth rock face).

    [0044] Thus, in arranging the scene to be captured, by indicating the locations of stitching regions in the captured images, the scene may be arranged to minimise the complexity of the images in the stitching region, for example by locating actors and detailed props away from stitching regions. This facilitates post-processing of the captured images to produce a VR image of the scene.

    [0045] Once the scene is arranged, the stitching regions need not be indicated any further. Therefore, the visual indicator provider 204 is also configured to provide no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images. Thus, there is no need to remove any visual indicators from the images during post-processing because the visual indicators are not provided during image capture.

    [0046] In some examples, at least one of the plurality of cameras 206A, 208B of the virtual reality image capture device 200 may be a directionally controllable camera. The directionally controllable camera may be configured to change direction, so the field of view of the directionally controllable camera is changed. For example one camera may be configured to tilt within the housing of the VR-ICD, for example by being mounted on a ball and socket type joint or other suitable mounting. In such a case, the visual indicator provider 204 may be configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a correspondingly changed position of the stitching region in response to a directionally controllable camera changing direction.

    [0047] For example, a directionally controllable camera (of a plurality of cameras having fields of view centred in an image capture plane) may be tilted to the left within the image capture plane. The visual indicator provider 204 would receive a signal causing the visual indicator provider to also change direction (and tilt to the left) to indicate the new position of the stitching region in relation to the moved camera. The visual indicator provider 204 may receive a signal indicating the camera movement, the movement of the stitching region, or the movement of the visual indicator provider required to indicate the new stitching region location, for example.

    [0048] Figure 2 illustrates a VR-ICD 202 and a visual indicator provider 204 which are separate from each other. In some examples, the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 may be configured to be repeatably user-fixed to each other, for example, by co-mounting the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 on a common mount (e.g. a tripod). The VR-ICD 202 and a visual indicator provider 204 may be aligned with each other for co-mounting by, for example, having aligned screw-holes through which a common screw may be passed for fixing both the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 to a mount. As another example, there may be a magnetic alignment system so that the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 can be aligned with each other when being fixed together. Being aligned with each other may mean that the visual indicator provider 204 will transmit a visual indication at the centre of two overlapping fields of view of adjacent cameras of the VR-ICD 202. In some examples, the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 may be permanently fixed to each other, as component parts of a single integral VR visual indicator apparatus 200.

    [0049] In some examples the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 may be configured to be separate from and in communication with each other. For example, the VR-ICD 202 may be mounted on a tripod in a scene, and the visual indicator provider 204 may be mounted on a ceiling above the VR-ICD 202 (or be located on the floor beneath the VR-ICD 202), for example. In such examples, for example, the visual indicator provider 204 may comprise a memory which stores information on the location(s) of the stitching region(s) and/or visual indicator provider 204 may be configured to communicate with the VR-ICD 202 to receive the locations(s) of the stitching region(s) and/or be configured to be controllable by the VR-ICD 202 to transmit and stop transmitting the visual indicator into the scene according to image capture.

    [0050] In certain embodiments, particularly if the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 are not fixed to one another but are separate to and in communication with one another, the visual indicator provider 204 may be controlled (by communication with the VR-ICD 202) by, for example, one or more motors to move the position the transmitted visual indicator(s) to align to the position of the stitching region(s). Thus, as the VR-ICD 202 stitching region(s) are adjusted in the scene with the movement of the VR-ICD 202, this information is communicated to the visual indicator provider 204 so that the visual indicator provider 204 can accurately reflect the new position(s) of the stitching region(s). In such embodiments, advantageous use of a calibration step to align the respective reference positions of the VR-ICD 202 and visual indicator provider 204 (so that the stitching region(s) can be subsequently accurately indicated) would be useful.

    [0051] Whether the VR-ICD 202 and visual indicator provider 204 are fixed together or not, communication between the VR-ICD 202 and the visual indicator provider 204 may take place to, for example, cause movement of the visual indicator provider 204 if the VR-ICD 202 or one or more cameras of the VR-ICD 202 moves (and thus changes the locations of the scene which will be captured in stitching regions). For example, the VR-ICD 202 and visual indicator provider 204 may be fixed together by both being individually rotatably mounted on a common tripod. The VR-ICD 202 and visual indicator provider 204 may be fixed together such than they are not movable with respect to one another (e.g. by being fixedly mounted in a common housing) but one or more cameras of the VR-ICD may be independently movable. In an example of the VR-ICD 202 and visual indicator provider 204 being fixedly connected to each other and no independent camera movement is possible, then there may not be communication relating to the movement of the VR-ICD 202 in relation to the visual indicator provider 204 as one cannot move without the other.

    [0052] Communication may also take place in relation to the visual indicator provider 204 being instructed to start and stop transmitting a visual indicator of the stitching region. For example, just prior to commencing image capture, a signal may be transmitted by the VR-ICD 202 or by a remote controller to instruct the visual indicator provider 204 to stop transmission of the visual indicator into the scene. Similarly, just after image capture, and/or before commencing image capture, a signal may be transmitted by the VR-ICD 202 or by a remote controller to instruct the visual indicator provider 204 to (re)commence transmission of the visual indicator into the scene. The communication to start and/or stop transmission may be automatic. For example, is a command is sent to the VR-ICD to start capturing images, the VR-ICR may react by first communicating with the visual indicator provider to stop transmitting the visual indicator into the scene prior to capturing images of the scene.

    [0053] In some examples, there may be a manual on/off switch which is used to switch the visual indicator provider on and off (i.e. to transmit, and stop transmission of, a visual indicator into the scene). In some examples there may be communication between the VR-ICD and the visual indicator provider to automatically, for example, transmit a visual indicator when the VR-ICD is not recording images, and to stop transmitting a visual indicator when the VR-ICD is capturing images of the scene.

    [0054] In some examples the position and operation (e.g. on/off) of the VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204 may be set and adjusted manually by a user (e.g. physically moving and fixing the VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204 into place). In some examples the position of the VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204 may be set and adjusted remotely, for example by a user operating a remote apparatus (e.g. a portable electronic device) in communication with the VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204. The VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204 may therefore comprise one or more motors or other movement elements configured to adjust their respective positions. The VR-ICD 202 and/or the visual indicator provider 204 may therefore comprise one or more on/off switches, configured to operate in response to commands transmitted from a remote apparatus.

    [0055] Figure 3 shows an example virtual reality visual indicator apparatus 300 in use. The scene illustrated in Figure 3 is an idealised case of the scene being a cuboid room with flat walls/faces at 90° to each other for ease of illustration. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus 300 comprises a VR-ICD 302 and visual indicator provider 304 and in this example the apparatus 300 is mounted on a tripod 320 in a room scene to be captured as a VR image.

    [0056] In this example, the VR-ICD 302 comprises five cameras having fields of view 350, 352, 356 centred in a horizontal image capture plane parallel to ground level (perpendicular to the gravity vector g). The virtual reality image of the scene thus extends over 360° in a horizontal image capture plane. The images captured by the respective cameras each cover a particular angular range within the horizontal image capture plane. The camera fields of view 350, 352, 356 meet/overlap in vertical stitching regions 354, 358 between the fields of view 350, 352, 356. The adjacent fields of view denoted 350, 356 meet at a vertical stitching region denoted 358, and the adjacent fields of view denoted 350, 352 meet at a vertical stitching region denoted 354.

    [0057] In this example, the respective plurality of images may be captured over 195° in a vertical image capture plane perpendicular to and centred about a horizontal image capture plane. In this way a 4π sr solid angle (i.e. all the scene) may be captured by the cameras of the VR-ICD 302. In other examples the vertical angular range of the cameras may be greater, or smaller, than 195°. In some examples the full scene may be captured by using one or more cameras facing above and/or below a horizontal image capture plane.

    [0058] In this example, as shown, the visual indicator provider 304 is configured to transmit a visual indicator 354, 358 comprising a plurality of areas, each indicating an overlap region 354, 358 between adjacent captured images 350, 352, 356. Adjacent cameras of the plurality of cameras are configured to capture the overlap region 354, 358 between the adjacent captured images. Each stitching region area 354, 358 on the flat vertical walls of the idealised scene in Figure 3 forms a rectangle extending from floor level to ceiling level. The stitching regions 354, 358 in this example run parallel with the gravity vector in the scene. On the ground and on the ceiling the stitching region area 354, 358 forms a triangle having a base at the joining edge with the wall the width of the area indicated on the wall, and an apex opposite the triangle base at a point directly above/below the apparatus 300. Each stitching region area 354, 348 has a centre line 360, in this example running vertically (parallel to the gravity vector) through the centre of each indicated stitching region location.

    [0059] Thus, in setting up the scene for image capture, complex elements (e.g. actors, detailed scenery, moving elements) may be located away from the stitching region locations 354, 358 indicated by the visual indicator provider 304.

    [0060] Figure 4 shows a virtual reality scene including stitching regions 454, 458. The scene may be that captured from the arrangement shown in Figure 3, for example. The VR image of the scene in this example extends over 360° in a horizontal image capture plane. That is, the left edge of the figure wraps around to join with the right edge of the figure to form a VR image. In this example, elements have been positioned in the scene away from the stitching area locations 454, 458. For example, a tree is located in the field of view 456, an actor is located in the field of view 450, and a boulder arrangement is located in the field of view 452, all away from the stitching regions 454, 458 between the fields of view 450, 452, 456.

    [0061] In this example, a horizon line 466 normal to the gravity vector is also indicated. It may be useful to have the horizon line indicated in the scene to check that the VR-ICD is set up with the image capture plane horizontal (in a similar way to using a spirit level to check the VR-ICD is level/horizontal).

    [0062] In some examples, the visual indicator provided may transmit an eye level line normal to the gravity vector at a predetermined height from ground level. The predetermined height may be, for example, the average eye level height of an adult male. This indication may aid in positioning elements in the scene to be at the eye level of a viewer of the captured scene in a VR setting. An example predetermined height may be 160cm from ground level.

    [0063] The visual indicator provider in this example is configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating the boundary edges 464 of the stitching region centred about a centre line 462 of the stitching region. In some examples the stitching region location may be indicated by an indication of the boundary lines 464 of the stitching region. In some examples the area between the boundary lines 464 within the stitching region may be "filled in", for example by projected hatching lines or other visual indication of the region being the location of a stitching region. The visual indicator provider in this example is also configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a dimension 466 of the stitching region with respect to the centre line of the stitching region. In other words, the width 466 of the stitching region location is indicated as the separation of the boundary lines 464 marking the stitching region. In some examples, the dimension of the stitching region may be indicated as an indication of a distance away from a centre line of the stitching region (for example, an arrow at eye level from the centre line to an outer edge of the stitching region). The "centre" line may not be in the centre of the stitching region in some examples, and if offset from the centre of the stitching region, the visual indication may comprise, for example, a centre line along the stitching region with an arrow pointing to one side of a length of 30cm, and another arrow pointing to the opposite side of a length of 50cm (for an 80cm wide stitching region having a centre line offset by 10cm to one side).

    [0064] One or more of the size and the position of the stitching region may be configured to be variable according to a definable variable overlap region between adjacent images. The definable variable overlap region between adjacent images may be defined as the region of the scene which is common to the fields of view of a plurality of cameras and thus may be captured in adjacent overlapping images captured by the cameras. It may be considered variable because, for example, the VR-ICD may change position and/or one or more cameras of the VR-ICD may be individually directionally controllable. The overlap region may be defined by the shared scene regions captured in a plurality of adjacent images. In some examples, it may be possible to "tune", or alter (i.e. vary), the stitching regions. It may be desirable to change the location and/or size of a stitching region, and therefore be useful to be able to indicate the changed location/size in the scene.

    [0065] For example, as a default, a 10% portion at each vertical edge of a region to be captured in an image may be indicated as lying within a stitching region, because this is the portion of the scene which will be captured in adjacent overlapping images. For example, for an image capture region 1m wide, the areas within 10cm from the vertical edges of the image capture region may be included as stitching regions. In the example, as a default, the whole overlap between adjacent images is assumed to be the stitching region.

    [0066] However, if it is desired for the scene close to a stitching region to include more complex elements which cause image stitching to be more challenging, it may be useful to indicate if it is possible to have a smaller stitching region in that scene region, or whether a smaller stitching region is not possible and it would be better to re-design the scene to avoid putting the more complex elements in that location. For example, it may be possible to have a narrower stitching region, and/or shift the centre line of a narrower stitching region within a default stitching region area, and still be able to stitch the adjacent images together as well as avoid capturing the complex elements in the stitching region. If a smaller stitching region is desired, it may thus be possible to define that the stitching region is a particular sub-portion of the overlap region. Thus the overlap region between adjacent images captured by cameras of the VR-ICD may be adjustable within a predetermined tolerance (e.g. within the image overlap). As another example, there may be an object in the left of the overlap region. It may be desirable to avoid having the object in the stitching region. Rather than moving the object, it may be possible to define that the stitching region does not include the region where the object is located, but still covers an area which is present in the overlap region (and thus in the fields of view of both cameras).

    [0067] The visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a stitching region which has variable size and/or position according to a definable variable overlap region between adjacent images. The visual indicator provider may be configured to provide an indication of a stitching region which can be translated within the definable variable overlap region, and/or which can be varied in size within the definable variable overlap region. The visual indicator provider may be directionally controllable to achieve this.

    [0068] The visual indicator provider may be controlled, for example, by receiving commands from a remote apparatus, such as a laptop computer which can run software allowing the stitching regions to be visualised on screen (for example providing an image such as that shown in Figure 4). In some examples the stitching regions may be shown on the screen, adjusted at the remote apparatus, and as a consequence a command is sent to the visual indicator provider to adjust the transmission of a visual indicator to show the adjusted stitching region in the scene.

    [0069] It may be useful to indicate other elements using the virtual indication provider. For example, the visual indicator provider may be configured to transmit, into the scene, one or more operating parameters of one or more cameras of the virtual reality image capture device (for example, the current light levels, focal points, zoom levels, aperture size, shutter speed, colour balance etc.

    [0070] Figure 5 illustrates an example visual indicator provider 504, which in this example is configured to provide a vertical stitching region location 522 using a vertical light projector 526, and a horizontal stitching region location 520 using a horizontal light projector 524. The visual indicator provider may comprise, for example, a laser and a curved mirror configured to provide a line of laser light for projection onto the scene to indicate the at least one stitching region.

    [0071] An example laser projector may comprise a gyroscope, plumb line, spirit level, or other means to determine a horizontal alignment of the visual indicator provider 504 (and also of the VR-ICD if connected to the visual indicator provider 504). The visual indicator provider 504 may be able to indicate a horizontal alignment within a tolerance of ±1°, ±2°, ±3°, ±4° or ±5°, for example. The visual indicator provider 504 may be able to indicate a stitching region location (e.g. a stitching region boundary) in a scene to an accuracy of up to 3mm at a distance of 10m from the visual indicator provider 504, for example. An example laser projector may have a visible range of up to 20m, 30, 40m or 50m.

    [0072] Figure 6 shows a flow diagram illustrating an example method 600 of using a virtual reality visual indicator apparatus comprising a virtual reality image capture device comprising a plurality of cameras configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, and a visual indicator provider. The method 600 comprises transmitting, using the visual indicator provider, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene 602; and during capture of the respective plurality of images, providing no visual indicator 604.

    [0073] Figure 7 illustrates schematically a computer/processor readable medium 700 providing a program according to an example. In this example, the computer/processor readable medium is a disc such as a digital versatile disc (DVD) or a compact disc (CD). In some examples, the computer readable medium may be any medium that has been programmed in such a way as to carry out an inventive function. The computer program code may be distributed between the multiple memories of the same type, or multiple memories of a different type, such as ROM, RAM, flash, hard disk, solid state, etc.

    [0074] Any mentioned apparatus and/or other features of particular mentioned apparatus may be provided by apparatus arranged such that they become configured to carry out the desired operations only when enabled, e.g. switched on, or the like. In such cases, they may not necessarily have the appropriate software loaded into the active memory in the non-enabled (e.g. switched off state) and only load the appropriate software in the enabled (e.g. on state). The apparatus may comprise hardware circuitry and/or firmware. The apparatus may comprise software loaded onto memory. Such software/computer programs may be recorded on the same memory/processor/functional units and/or on one or more memories/processors/ functional units.

    [0075] In some examples, a particular mentioned apparatus may be pre-programmed with the appropriate software to carry out desired operations, and wherein the appropriate software can be enabled for use by a user downloading a "key", for example, to unlock/enable the software and its associated functionality. Advantages associated with such examples can include a reduced requirement to download data when further functionality is required for a device, and this can be useful in examples where a device is perceived to have sufficient capacity to store such pre-programmed software for functionality that may not be enabled by a user.

    [0076] Any mentioned apparatus/circuitry/elements/processor may have other functions in addition to the mentioned functions, and that these functions may be performed by the same apparatus/circuitry/elements/processor. One 1 or more disclosed aspects may encompass the electronic distribution of associated computer programs and computer programs (which may be source/transport encoded) recorded on an appropriate carrier (e.g. memory, signal).

    [0077] Any "computer" described herein can comprise a collection of one or more individual processors/processing elements that may or may not be located on the same circuit board, or the same region/position of a circuit board or even the same device. In some examples one or more of any mentioned processors may be distributed over a plurality of devices. The same or different processor/processing elements may perform one or more functions described herein.

    [0078] The term "signalling" may refer to one or more signals transmitted as a series of transmitted and/or received electrical/optical signals. The series of signals may comprise one or more individual signal components or distinct signals to make up said signalling. Some or all of these individual signals may be transmitted/received by wireless or wired communication simultaneously, in sequence, and/or such that they temporally overlap one another.

    [0079] With reference to any discussion of any mentioned computer and/or processor and memory (e.g. including ROM, CD-ROM etc.), these may comprise a computer processor, Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), field-programmable gate array (FPGA), and/or other hardware components that have been programmed in such a way to carry out the inventive function.


    Claims

    1. A visual indicator provider (204) configured to be communicably coupled to a virtual reality image capture device (202), the virtual reality image capture device (202) comprising a plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions (454, 458) to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, wherein the visual indicator provider is configured to:

    transmit, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region (354, 358) prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    provide no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images.


     
    2. A virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) comprising:

    a virtual reality image capture device (202) comprising a plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions (454, 458) to provide a virtual reality image of the scene; and

    the visual indicator provider (204) of claim 1.


     
    3. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of claim 2, wherein the visual indicator provider (204) is configured to transmit a visual indicator comprising one or more of:

    a line indicating a boundary between adjacent captured images, wherein adjacent cameras of the plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) are configured to capture the adjacent captured images meeting at the boundary; and

    an area indicating an overlap region between adjacent captured images, wherein adjacent cameras of the plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) are configured to capture the overlap region between the adjacent captured images.


     
    4. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of claim 2 or 3, wherein the visual indicator provider (204) is configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating one or more of:

    boundary edges (464) of the stitching region centred about a centre line (462) of the stitching region; and

    a dimension of the stitching region with respect to the centre line (462) of the stitching region.


     
    5. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-4, wherein one or more of the size and the position of the stitching region are configured to be variable according to a definable variable overlap region between adjacent images.
     
    6. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-5, wherein the plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) of the virtual reality image capture device (202) are fixed in position relative to each other.
     
    7. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-6, wherein at least one of the plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) of the virtual reality image capture device (202) is a directionally controllable camera configured to change direction so the field of view (456) of the directionally controllable camera is changed, and the visual indicator provider is configured to transmit a visual indicator indicating a correspondingly changed position of the stitching region.
     
    8. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-7, wherein the visual indicator provider is configured to transmit, into the scene, one or more of:

    a horizon line (466) normal to the gravity vector;

    an eye level line normal to the gravity vector at a predetermined height from ground level;

    one or more operating parameters of one or more cameras of the virtual reality image capture device; and

    one or more of battery life, operating time and operating temperature.


     
    9. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-8, wherein the at least one stitching region is parallel with the gravity vector in the scene.
     
    10. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-9, wherein the virtual reality image capture device (202) and the visual indicator provider (204) are each configured to be repeatably user-fixed to each other.
     
    11. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-10, wherein the virtual reality image capture device (202) and the visual indicator provider (204) are configured to be separate from and in communication with each other to allow for transmission of, and stopping transmission of, a visual indicator into the scene.
     
    12. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-11, wherein one or more of the virtual reality image capture device (202) and the visual indicator provider (204) are configured to communicate with a remote controller to allow for operation of the one or more of the virtual reality image capture device and the visual indicator provider to be performed remotely.
     
    13. The virtual reality visual indicator apparatus (200) of any of claims 2-12, wherein the visual indicator provider (204) comprises a laser and a curved mirror configured to provide a line of laser light (522, 520) for projection onto the scene to indicate the at least one stitching region.
     
    14. A method of using a visual indicator provider (204), the visual indicator provider (204) configured to be communicably coupled to a virtual reality image capture device (202), the virtual reality image capture device (202) comprising a plurality of cameras (218A, 218B) configured to capture a respective plurality of images of a scene, the respective plurality of images of the scene configured to be connected at stitching regions (454, 458) to provide a virtual reality image of the scene, the method comprising:

    transmitting, into the scene, a visual indicator at a location of at least one stitching region prior to capture of the respective plurality of images of the scene; and

    providing no visual indicator during capture of the respective plurality of images.


     
    15. A computer readable medium comprising computer program code stored thereon, the computer readable medium and computer program code being configured to, when run on at least one processor, perform the method of claim 14.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige, die konfiguriert ist, mit einer Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität gekoppelt zu sein, wobei die Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität mehrere Kameras (218A, 218B) umfasst, die konfiguriert sind, eine jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern einer Szene zu erfassen, wobei die jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern der Szene konfiguriert ist, an Nahtbereichen (454, 458) verbunden zu werden, um ein Bild virtueller Realität der Szene bereitzustellen, wobei die Einheit zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist zum:

    Übertragen einer visuellen Anzeige an einen Ort mindestens eines Nahtbereichs (354, 358) in die Szene vor dem Erfassen der jeweiligen Mehrzahl von Bildern der Szene; und

    Bereitstellen keiner visuellen Anzeige während des Erfassens der jeweiligen Mehrzahl von Bildern.


     
    2. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige, die Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität, die mehrere Kameras (218A, 218B) umfasst, die konfiguriert sind, eine jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern einer Szene zu erfassen, wobei die jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern der Szene konfiguriert ist, an Nahtbereichen (454, 458) verbunden zu werden, um ein Bild virtueller Realität der Szene bereitzustellen; und

    die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige nach Anspruch 1.


     
    3. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist, eine visuelle Anzeige zu übertragen, die Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Linie, die eine Begrenzung zwischen benachbarten erfassten Bildern angibt, wobei die benachbarten Kameras der mehreren Kameras (218A, 218B) konfiguriert sind, die benachbarten erfassten Bilder zu erfassen, wobei diese an der Begrenzung aneinanderstoßen; und/oder

    eine Fläche, die einen Überlappungsbereich zwischen benachbarten erfassten Bildern angibt, wobei die benachbarten Kameras der mehreren Kameras (218A, 218B) konfiguriert sind, den Überlappungsbereich zwischen den benachbarten erfassten Bildern zu erfassen.


     
    4. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach Anspruch 2 oder 3, wobei die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist, eine visuelle Anzeige zu übertragen, die Folgendes angibt:

    Begrenzungskanten (464) des Nahtbereichs, die um eine Mittenlinie (462) des Nahtbereichs zentriert sind; und/oder

    eine Abmessung des Nahtbereichs in Bezug auf die Mittenlinie (462) des Nahtbereichs.


     
    5. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-4, wobei die Größe und/oder die Position des Nahtbereichs konfiguriert sind, gemäß einem definierbaren, veränderlichen Überlappungsbereich zwischen benachbarten Bildern veränderlich zu sein.
     
    6. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-5, wobei die mehreren Kameras (218A, 218B) der Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität relativ zueinander in Position arretiert sind.
     
    7. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-6, wobei mindestens eine der mehreren Kameras (218A, 218B) der Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität eine bezüglich der Ausrichtung steuerbare Kamera ist, die konfiguriert ist, die Ausrichtung zu ändern, derart, dass das Blickfeld (456) der bezüglich der Ausrichtung steuerbaren Kamera geändert wird, und die Einheit zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist, eine visuelle Anzeige zu übertragen, die eine entsprechend geänderte Position des Nahtbereichs angibt.
     
    8. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-7, wobei die Einheit zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist, in die Szene Folgendes zu übertragen:

    eine Horizontlinie (466), die zum Schwerkraftvektor senkrecht ist; und/oder

    eine Augenhöhelinie, die zum Schwerkraftvektor senkrecht ist, an einer vorgegebenen Höhe von der Bodenhöhe; und/oder

    einen oder mehrere Betriebsparameter von einer oder mehreren Kameras der Bilderfassungseinrichtung für virtuelle Realität; und/oder

    die Batterielebensdauer und/oder die Betriebszeit und/oder die Betriebstemperatur.


     
    9. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-8, wobei der mindestens eine Nahtbereich in der Szene zum Schwerkraftvektor parallel ist.
     
    10. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-9, wobei die Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität und die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige jeweils konfiguriert sind, auf wiederholbare Weise vom Anwender aneinander arretiert zu werden.
     
    11. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-10, wobei die Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität und die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert sind, voneinander getrennt zu sein und sich miteinander in Kommunikation zu befinden, um die Übertragung einer visuellen Anzeige in die Szene und das Anhalten der Übertragung davon zu ermöglichen.
     
    12. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-11, wobei die Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität und/oder die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert sind, mit einer entfernten Steuereinheit zu kommunizieren, um zu ermöglichen, dass der Betrieb der Bilderfassungseinrichtung für virtuelle Realität und/oder der Einheit zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige aus der Ferne durchgeführt wird.
     
    13. Vorrichtung (200) für virtuelle Realität mit visueller Anzeige nach einem der Ansprüche 2-12, wobei die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige einen Laser und einen gekrümmten Spiegel umfasst, die konfiguriert sind, eine Laserlichtlinie (522, 520) zur Projektion auf die Szene bereitzustellen, um den mindestens einen Nahtbereich anzugeben.
     
    14. Verfahren zum Verwenden einer Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige, wobei die Einheit (204) zum Bereitstellen einer visuellen Anzeige konfiguriert ist, mit einer Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität kommunikativ gekoppelt zu sein, wobei die Bilderfassungseinrichtung (202) für virtuelle Realität mehrere Kameras (218A 218B) umfasst, die konfiguriert sind, eine jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern einer Szene zu erfassen, wobei die jeweilige Mehrzahl von Bildern der Szene konfiguriert ist, an Nahtbereichen (454, 458) verbunden zu werden, um ein Bild virtueller Realität der Szene bereitzustellen, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    Übertragen einer visuellen Anzeige an einen Ort mindestens eines Nahtbereichs in die Szene vor dem Erfassen der jeweiligen Mehrzahl von Bildern der Szene; und

    Bereitstellen keiner visuellen Anzeige während des Erfassens der jeweiligen Mehrzahl von Bildern.


     
    15. Computerlesbares Medium, das Computerprogrammcode umfasst, der darauf gespeichert ist, wobei das computerlesbare Medium und der Computerprogrammcode konfiguriert sind, dann, wenn sie auf mindestens einem Prozessor laufen, das Verfahren nach Anspruch 14 durchzuführen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) configuré pour être couplé de façon communicante à un dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202), le dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) comprenant une pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) configurées pour capturer une pluralité respective d'images d'une scène, la pluralité respective d'images de la scène étant configurées pour être reliées au niveau de régions de raccord (454, 458) pour fournir une image de réalité virtuelle de la scène, le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel étant configuré pour :

    transmettre, à l'intérieur de la scène, un indicateur visuel à un emplacement d'au moins une région de raccord (354, 358) avant la capture de la pluralité respective d'images de la scène ; et

    ne fournir aucun indicateur visuel pendant la capture de la pluralité respective d'images.


     
    2. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) comprenant :

    un dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) comprenant une pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) configurées pour capturer une pluralité respective d'images d'une scène, la pluralité respective d'images de la scène étant configurées pour être reliées au niveau de régions de raccord (454, 458) pour fournir une image de réalité virtuelle de la scène ; et

    le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) de la revendication 1.


     
    3. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de la revendication 2, dans lequel le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) est configuré pour transmettre un indicateur visuel comprenant un ou plusieurs des éléments suivants :

    une ligne indiquant une frontière entre images capturées adjacentes, des caméras adjacentes de la pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) étant configurées pour capturer les images capturées adjacentes se rejoignant à la frontière ; et

    une zone indiquant une région de chevauchement entre images capturées adjacentes, des caméras adjacentes de la pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) étant configurées pour capturer la région de chevauchement entre les images capturées adjacentes.


     
    4. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de la revendication 2 ou 3, dans lequel le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) est configuré pour transmettre un indicateur visuel indiquant un ou plusieurs des éléments suivants :

    des bords limites (464) de la région de raccord centrés autour d'une ligne centrale (462) de la région de raccord ; et

    une dimension de la région de raccord par rapport à la ligne centrale (462) de la région de raccord.


     
    5. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 4, dans lequel la taille et/ou la position de la région de raccord sont configurées pour être variables en fonction d'une région de chevauchement variable définissable entre images adjacentes.
     
    6. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 5, dans lequel la pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) du dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) ont une position fixe les unes par rapport aux autres.
     
    7. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 6, dans lequel au moins une de la pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) du dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) est une caméra orientable configurée pour changer de direction de telle sorte que le champ de vision (456) de la caméra orientable est changé, et le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel est configuré pour transmettre un indicateur visuel indiquant une position changée en conséquence de la région de raccord.
     
    8. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 7, dans lequel le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel est configuré pour transmettre, à l'intérieur de la scène, un ou plusieurs des éléments suivants :

    une ligne d'horizon (466) perpendiculaire au vecteur gravité ;

    une ligne à hauteur d'œil perpendiculaire au vecteur gravité à une hauteur prédéterminée par rapport au niveau du sol ;

    un ou plusieurs paramètres de fonctionnement d'une ou plusieurs caméras du dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle ;

    un ou plusieurs paramètres parmi la durée de vie, le temps de fonctionnement et la température de fonctionnement d'une batterie.


     
    9. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 8, dans lequel l'au moins une région de raccord est parallèle au vecteur gravité dans la scène.
     
    10. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 9, dans lequel le dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) et le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) sont chacun configurés pour être fixés l'un à l'autre par l'utilisateur de façon répétée.
     
    11. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 10, dans lequel le dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) et le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) sont configurés pour être séparés l'un de l'autre et en communication l'un avec l'autre pour permettre la transmission, et l'arrêt de la transmission, d'un indicateur visuel à l'intérieur de la scène.
     
    12. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 11, dans lequel le dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) et/ou le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) sont configurés pour communiquer avec un contrôleur distant pour permettre d'effectuer à distance le fonctionnement du dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle et/ou du dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel.
     
    13. Appareil indicateur visuel de réalité virtuelle (200) de l'une quelconque des revendications 2 à 12, dans lequel dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) comprend un laser et un miroir incurvé configurés pour fournir une ligne de lumière laser (522, 520) pour projection sur la scène pour indiquer l'au moins une région de raccord.
     
    14. Procédé d'utilisation d'un dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204), le dispositif de fourniture d'indicateur visuel (204) étant configuré pour être couplé de façon communicante à un dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202), le dispositif de capture d'images de réalité virtuelle (202) comprenant une pluralité de caméras (218A, 218B) configurées pour capturer une pluralité respective d'images d'une scène, la pluralité respective d'images de la scène étant configurées pour être reliées au niveau de régions de raccord (454, 458) pour fournir une image de réalité virtuelle de la scène, le procédé comprenant :

    la transmission, à l'intérieur de la scène, d'un indicateur visuel à un emplacement d'au moins une région de raccord avant la capture de la pluralité respective d'images de la scène ; et

    la fourniture d'aucun indicateur visuel pendant la capture de la pluralité respective d'images.


     
    15. Support lisible par ordinateur comprenant un code de programme informatique stocké par-dessus, le support lisible par ordinateur et le code de programme informatique étant configurés pour, en cas d'exécution sur au moins un processeur, effectuer le procédé de la revendication 14.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description