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Tricks in Digital Video

From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report. Movies are all about appearances. Movie fans know that the action hero in the film "Superman" does not really fly. But in the movie "Superman Returns," another visual trick is used. The man they see flying is not a real person. He is what is called a virtual actor.

The first step in creating a digital actor is to have a real person stand in a room called a light stage. A computer records the shape of the actors face. Computer Scientist Paul Debevec is with the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. He says special lighting and seven different cameras are used to create the digital image.

Mr. Debevec is part of a team working to create computerized images of people, objects and environments that look and act real. The light stage permits actors to be turned into digital versions of themselves. Similar technology could appear soon. Computer experts at the Institute are developing a three-dimension video teleconferencing system. They hope to send a 3-D video image of a person to a meeting room.

The image would be able to work with the people in the room, who would see it without special eyeglasses.Paul Debevec says 3-D meetings would make it seem like all of the attendees are in the room together. How far are we from 3-D teleconferencing? Paul Debevec says businesses will begin to use 3-D video teleconferencing in the next five years. The Institute is using its light stage and Interactive 3-D technology to record video testimonies of Holocaust survivors for the Shoah Foundation, also at USC. The 3-D images could be shown in classrooms and museums.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 8Apr2013)