Toshiba's Powerful Authoring Tool Delivers Moving Images Extracted from Motion Pictures to Web Sites

-People, Vehicles, Other Images Can Quickly, Easily Be

Delivered to Web Pages as MPEG-4 Video Images-

Jul 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from Toshiba Corporation

    TOKYO, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Toshiba Corporation today announced that it
 has developed authoring software that gives web page designers, content
 developers and presentation makers the ability to quickly and easily extract
 irregularly shaped objects from motion pictures and deliver it to a web site
 as an MPEG-4 video.
     Current systems for extracting non-rectangular objects from moving
 pictures -- a walking person or a flying bird, for example -- are complex and
 difficult.  They require extensive training and know-how, and the whole
 process takes time.  Toshiba's new software is much less demanding on the user
 and allows objects to be extracted in about the tenth of the time taken by
 present software systems.  Once extracted, objects can be encoded to MPEG-4
 video and displayed on Web browsers equipped with a required plug-in.  The new
 system opens the way to the fast authoring and delivery of more attractive
 multimedia content over the Internet.
     The high hurdle in object extraction is the precise indication of the
 boundaries of the object -- the point where an eagle ends and the sky it is
 flying through begins.  Achieving this has required time-consuming
 frame-by-frame indication, as automatic extraction was too imprecise.  Toshiba
 has achieved high precision automated extraction, and saves the objects as
 MPEG-4 video, which supports high compression rate encoding of arbitrarily
 shaped objects.
     Toshiba's software consists of authoring and rendering packages.  The
 authoring software imports video files, extracts desired objects and saves
 them as MPEG-4 video files.  These files are stored on web servers with other
 content files.  Manual operation is confined to indicating the rough boundary
 of the object in the first frame.  In successive frames, the indication is
 done automatically.  In a process known as "Robust Estimation" the software
 first analyzes spatial local motion between frames and then the motion of the
 object, based on the local motion.  This gives rough estimates of the position
 and shape of the object.  Precise boundaries are determined by the fractal
 method for quantifying change.  This method achieves faster extraction and
 with greater precision than any other method.
     The rendering software that displays the MPEG-4 video object in html files
 is viewed with Web browsers.  Internet Explorer and Netscape Communicator
 versions of the plug-in are supported.  Users experience the object as another
 integrated part of the web site being visited.
     Toshiba is now developing a business plan for promoting the new package in
 the marketplace.
     Midori Suzuki
     phone: ++81-3-3457-2105
     fax: ++81-3-5444-9202

SOURCE Toshiba Corporation