Vizrt strengthens collaboration with SterGen for 2-D-to-3-D conversions

Real-time 3-D graphics and asset management tools provider Vizrt has formalized its strategic collaboration with SterGen Hi-Tech, a developer of 2-D to stereoscopic 3-D video conversion software. With the move, Vizrt now offers tight integration between Stergen stereo 3-D conversion software tailored to sports TV networks, sports leagues and webcasters and its own stereo 3-D graphics portfolio.

In addition, with this new agreement, Vizrt has made an equity investment in SterGen of approximately $1.86 million (in both cash and marketing services) for preferred shares. In addition, the parties will jointly market each other’s technology.

Stergen is an Israeli startup company founded in January 2010 by Miky Tamir, Avi Klinger, Itzik Wilf and Time Investment. Once the agreement is complete, Vizrt will hold a 20 percent stake in Stergen.

Martin Burkhalter, Vizrt CEO, said that with more than 28 million 3-D-capable TVs forecasted to be in homes by 2012, demand for technology that enhances broadcasters’ ability to tell their stories through this new technology is already increasing and is set to accelerate. “What also makes the SterGen software so attractive is its ability to convert existing 2-D footage to 3-D specs, thereby allowing content owners to increase the value of their media assets, which links very well with our content management philosophy,” Burkhalter said.

Miky Tamir, founder of Stergen, also co-founded live graphics processing providers Orad, SportVu, Seambi and Vumii. He said his conversion technology can produce “high-fidelity, broadcast-quality 3-D with even better depth perception than video captured by stereo 3-D cameras and rigs. Unlike real 3-D shooting, we have almost infinite capability to dynamically change the stereoscopic setting.”

Vizrt’s Burkhalter added that SterGen’s stereo conversion tools can complement live stereo 3-D production as well as offer a compelling alternative to expensive, logistically complex, live stereo 3-D production. “It cuts costs without compromising superior broadcast quality, which matches Vizrt’s strategy of offering superior products that address the economic realities of our customers.”

Early next year, SterGen said it plans to introduce a live version of its Highlights software that converts 2-D video to stereo 3-D in real time for delivery to stereo 3-D cinemas, mobile devices and home entertainment centers. SterGen’s real-time conversion software includes Stergen Arena, which connects to a single, live 2-D camera output to produce live stereo 3-D video from sports arenas and mobile video units; and Stergen Studio, for use in broadcast studios or cable headends to convert live, 2-D video programs to stereo 3-D in real time.