Apple's 3D video editing patent hints at future Final Cut Pro features

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a software-driven method of processing and editing 3D video, hinting that the feature may show up in a future version of Final Cut Pro.

3D Edit


Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,631,047 for "Editing 3D video" describes a method in which a media editing application, like FCP X, can handle manipulation of a stereoscopic three-dimensional image.

Stereoscopic videos usually display a pair of two-dimensional images selectively to each eye. Because the shots are recorded at slightly offset angles, the brain is "tricked" into perceiving a three-dimensional image. There are multiple ways to deliver the stereoscopic video to viewers, including glasses with active shutters, passive filters or various anaglyph technology.

The basic theory of Apple's patent is relatively simple in that a video editing app, such as the non-linear editor shown in the above image, imports and edits two separate video clips simultaneously. As 3D videos are commonly shot by two different cameras, the editing application can identify and associate pairs of clips taken from a primary and secondary camera.

3D Edit


Many professional cameras allow multi-cam video capture by outputting a synchronized SMPTE time code. Apple's invention uses this timecode, which can be generated on-camera or by specialized equipment like a master clock, to associate the two clips and create a composite presentation to which edits can be applied. When a user makes edits to one clip, the other is automatically updated appropriately.

Diving deeper into the patent's technicalities, the system is able to identify pairs of clips through examination of embedded metadata. As mentioned above, timecodes can be used to facilitate association, though other embodiments rely on filenames and other equipment-specific cues.

After import and pairing, a user can create a composite 3D video clip by adding the primary clip to the editing application's primary track. The system will automatically populate a secondary track with the associated secondary clip.

From there, both clips can be edited simultaneously in a rules-based environment customizable by the user. For example, if one clip needs to be color corrected, the user may apply that change on a per-clip basis, leaving the associated clip untouched. Other edits that affect the project timeline, like cuts and trims, are applied across both clips.

3D Edit


A large portion of the patent deals with edit types and how they are automatically applied to the secondary clip. For example, trims, cuts and splices are dealt with in different ways than non-timeline edits like filters. Special effects like crossfades and other transitions are also discussed.

Currently, Apple's professional-level Final Cut Pro does not support 3D editing out of the box, though the feature can be added with aftermarket plugins. The two other major NLE platforms, Adobe's Premiere with After Effects and Sony's Vegas Pro, both have native stereoscopic 3D editing built in.

It is unclear if Apple will actually introduce the feature in a future FCP version, or even as an update to the application, as consumer interest in 3D videos seems to be waning.

Apple's stereoscopic 3D editing patent was first applied for in 2010 and credits Jeff Roenning as its inventor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    appexappex Posts: 687member

    Apple should release a 24-inch 4K 3D Thunderbolt 2 display with USB 3 and SD card reader.

  • Reply 2 of 13
    Originally Posted by AppeX View Post

    Apple should release a 24-inch 4K 3D Thunderbolt 2 display with USB 3 and SD card reader.

     

    So… twice the resolution (still impossible) on a tiny panel (on which 2160 isn’t being manufactured)?

  • Reply 3 of 13
    It occurs to me that the software could easily generate a second offset clip from a single 2D clip and combine the two in editing, as a 3D compound clip.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    What about an iphone6 with two lenses, one at the current position, the second at the opposite glass border (that is even wider than human eyes) ? Then an holographic iTV to show this content...? :)
  • Reply 5 of 13
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a software-driven method of processing and editing 3D video, hinting that the feature may show up in a future version of Final Cut Pro.

     

    Yay? Just in time for the official death of the fad, here's the feature nobody asked for.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The two other major NLE platforms, Adobe's Premiere with After Effects and Sony's Vegas Pro

     

    LOL! So Avid, the world's most widely used professional editing system, is not a "major NLE platform?"

  • Reply 6 of 13
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,582member

    I would have thought that Apple would have innovated more and instead of using SMPTE time code (not that there's anything wrong with that), would have created software that analyzed the images and automatically tied clips together that were the same except for a slight offset in angle.

  • Reply 7 of 13
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    v5v wrote: »
    Yay? Just in time for the official death of the fad, here's the feature nobody asked for.


    LOL! So Avid, the world's most widely used professional editing system, is not a "major NLE platform?"

    You have two ears. Stereo sound is not a fad and will not go away.

    You have two eyes. Stereo picture is not a fad and will not go away.

    You have two cerebral hemispheres and the wiring to fuse bilateral sensory inputs for spatial location. Stereo sound and picture use that fusion and are not a fad because they let you use both sides of your brain.

    Your two-dimensional, left-hemisphere thinking is an aberration and it will go away.

    He should have said consumer or prosumer level NLE software, thus excluding Avid.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    v5v wrote: »
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a software-driven method of processing and editing 3D video, hinting that the feature may show up in a future version of Final Cut Pro.

    Yay? Just in time for the official death of the fad, here's the feature nobody asked for.

    Not necessarily the death... It seems that every 10 years or so, 3D gets revived for a short burst of life... What may be different with this patent is that it looks like the app could run on an iPhone or an iPad -- and the app could, in fact, generate 3D from 2D clips.

    Put 3D capability in the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers who own iDevices with "the camera you always have with you"... Who can say?


    The two other major NLE platforms, Adobe's Premiere with After Effects and Sony's Vegas Pro

    LOL! So Avid, the world's most widely used professional editing system, is not a "major NLE platform?"

    Can you cite any usage figures for Avid, Premiere, etc?

    I surfed for install base and could not get a clear indication of any "User Seats"... Especially unclear are the number of Premiere users.

    From what I've read Premiere is often included in a package of other Adobe software (essentially free) and many times is installed, but unused.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    If Apple wants to stay a serious player it would do them well to embrace 3d via either plug ins or a secondary program. Plus get similar support for VFX, animations etc.

    Many pros felt very betrayed when Shake was killed and that feeling only got worse over the years. If Apple could find a way give pros a cohesive workflow centered around FCP and able to be used in basically every combo, it would heal a big rift.
  • Reply 10 of 13

    Seems that there are already NLEs out there that do all of that. Maybe I need to go read the patent to see what exactly is patentable here...

  • Reply 11 of 13
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



    Can you cite any usage figures for Avid, Premiere, etc?

     

    Nope, but find me a TV station, production facility or post house that uses something other than Avid as its primary assembly tool.

     

    Why? Ask people like charlituna, quoted below. He's a Final Cut Pro user. Apple gutted the software he uses and took TWO YEARS to get it back to professional standards. By comparison, Avid did a total rewrite of Pro Tools with virtually no disruption by warning users a year in advance of what was going to change, implementing easy migration paths, providing methods for concurrently using old and new software, and not dropping ANY features, much less critically important ones, while disingenuously claiming it's "necessary" when doing a major update. That's so ridiculous that the response SHOULD be fury, both because of the harm caused by dropped capability, and the insult in the form of the absurd claim. When's the last time Autodesk or Adobe or Microsoft crippled a product while claiming it was necessary in order to upgrade it? Please.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post



    If Apple could find a way give pros a cohesive workflow centered around FCP and able to be used in basically every combo, it would heal a big rift.

     

    And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

     

    You've nailed the problem with Apple's software strategy -- It's being handled by Apple. Those who've always argued that "Apple is a hardware company" had no idea how right they were!

     

    OS X is the exception. It's the reason I continue to use Apple computers. Even now, when those who know much more about such things than do I report that Mavericks is the buggiest iteration in the history of Apple operating systems, I still like it better than the alternatives.

     

    Any other Apple software product is a buyer beware prospect though. The chances of them crippling or even dropping a title completely and without warning seem to be really high. There is nothing "professional" about the way Apple treats pros.

  • Reply 12 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,310member
    Not necessarily the death... It seems that every 10 years or so, 3D gets revived for a short burst of life... What may be different with this patent is that it looks like the app could run on an iPhone or an iPad -- and the app could, in fact, generate 3D from 2D clips.

    Put 3D capability in the hands of hundreds of millions of consumers who own iDevices with "the camera you always have with you"... Who can say?

    I'm hoping Apple leapfrog this whole 3D thing that, as you say keeps getting regurgitated and never quite catching on, and go straight to utilizing the power of the nMP and FCPro X for the development of the Holodeck. :D
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mieswall View Post



    What about an iphone6 with two lenses, one at the current position, the second at the opposite glass border (that is even wider than human eyes) ? Then an holographic iTV to show this content...? image



    Thanks for telling your weird idea. I had a laugh right now.

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