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Videos in Context for Telecommunication and Spatial Browsing

Pece, F; (2015) Videos in Context for Telecommunication and Spatial Browsing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The research presented in this thesis explores the use of videos embedded in panoramic imagery to transmit spatial and temporal information describing remote environments and their dynamics. Virtual environments (VEs) through which users can explore remote locations are rapidly emerging as a popular medium of presence and remote collaboration. However, capturing visual representation of locations to be used in VEs is usually a tedious process that requires either manual modelling of environments or the employment of specific hardware. Capturing environment dynamics is not straightforward either, and it is usually performed through specific tracking hardware. Similarly, browsing large unstructured video-collections with available tools is difficult, as the abundance of spatial and temporal information makes them hard to comprehend. At the same time, on a spectrum between 3D VEs and 2D images, panoramas lie in between, as they offer the same 2D images accessibility while preserving 3D virtual environments surrounding representation. For this reason, panoramas are an attractive basis for videoconferencing and browsing tools as they can relate several videos temporally and spatially. This research explores methods to acquire, fuse, render and stream data coming from heterogeneous cameras, with the help of panoramic imagery. Three distinct but interrelated questions are addressed. First, the thesis considers how spatially localised video can be used to increase the spatial information transmitted during video mediated communication, and if this improves quality of communication. Second, the research asks whether videos in panoramic context can be used to convey spatial and temporal information of a remote place and the dynamics within, and if this improves users' performance in tasks that require spatio-temporal thinking. Finally, the thesis considers whether there is an impact of display type on reasoning about events within videos in panoramic context. These research questions were investigated over three experiments, covering scenarios common to computer-supported cooperative work and video browsing. To support the investigation, two distinct video+context systems were developed. The first telecommunication experiment compared our videos in context interface with fully-panoramic video and conventional webcam video conferencing in an object placement scenario. The second experiment investigated the impact of videos in panoramic context on quality of spatio-temporal thinking during localization tasks. To support the experiment, a novel interface to video-collection in panoramic context was developed and compared with common video-browsing tools. The final experimental study investigated the impact of display type on reasoning about events. The study explored three adaptations of our video-collection interface to three display types. The overall conclusion is that videos in panoramic context offer a valid solution to spatio-temporal exploration of remote locations. Our approach presents a richer visual representation in terms of space and time than standard tools, showing that providing panoramic contexts to video collections makes spatio-temporal tasks easier. To this end, videos in context are suitable alternative to more difficult, and often expensive solutions. These findings are beneficial to many applications, including teleconferencing, virtual tourism and remote assistance.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Videos in Context for Telecommunication and Spatial Browsing
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Computer Vision, Computer Graphics, Human-Computer Interaction, Video+Context, Videos in Panoramic Context, Panoramic imagery, Panoramas
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460726
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