In this paper, explore the challenges that have to be overcome to create colour-accurate immersive experiences at a cinematic quality level.
Immersive technologies offer new approaches for engaging audiences and providing visual information, whether for entertainment or more practical applications. To ensure that the content maintains the intended appearance across different devices and environments, one of the key challenges is that of accurate colour management.
In this paper, we discuss the challenges that have to be overcome to create colour-accurate immersive experiences at a cinematic quality level. We propose workflows for efficiently characterising different virtual and augmented reality devices and review their colour reproduction capabilities against current display standards.
Immersive technologies are attracting a growing consumer interest, with proposed solutions offering different tradeoffs in terms of budget, comfort and quality. Such technologies can span the range from virtual reality (VR), where the viewer is isolated from their surrounding environment, to mixed reality (MR), where digital content should be indistinguishable and fully blend with the real scene.
The increasing availability and sheer variety of different devices has inspired a multitude of applications. While gaming remains the main attractor towards VR, applications are being explored in fields such as virtual tourism, health or education. Creative professionals are also taking advantage of the unique capabilities of this new medium to create cinematic experiences that place the viewer in the middle of the action or offer unusual viewpoints that cannot be achieved with traditional film. Augmented and mixed
reality applications go even further, spanning applications as diverse as entertainment, manufacturing, surgery, telecommunications or e-commerce. Although in this case commercial availability is more limited, the possibilities offered by the prospect of seamless combination of synthetic or virtual objects and the real world seem limitless.
Despite the capabilities of immersive technologies and the buzz surrounding them though, widespread adoption is still elusive. Many reasons may be considered as responsible, but a key issue is that of the visual quality1, meaning that current headsets are not yet able to produce images that are indistinguishable from reality.
Many of the challenges relating to image quality in immersive devices fall in the remit of colour reproduction. To ensure that the content preserves the intended appearance across different devices and environments, colour management needs to be taken into consideration at many steps of the imaging pipeline. In the case of immersive technologies, traditional approaches for achieving this may not be applicable or may require considerable extensions.
In this work, we focus on colour management as it applies to immersive content creation and consumption. Specifically, we focus on the display devices used for viewing immersive content and we provide an overview of practical workflows that may be used to improve the colour accuracy of such devices. We review the colour reproduction quality offered by several key devices, focusing both on VR and AR OST scenarios.