The Rhombic Dodecahedron Map: An Efficient Scheme for Encoding Panoramic Video

Chi-Wing Fu, Liang Wan, Tien-Tsin Wong , and Chi-Sing Leung
in IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, Vol. 11, No. 4, June 2009, pp. 634-644.

Abstract

Omnidirectional videos are usually mapped to planar domain for encoding with off-the-shelf video compression standards. However, existing work typically neglects the effect of the sphere-to-plane mapping. In this paper, we show that by carefully designing the mapping, we can improve the visual quality, stability and compression efficiency of encoding omnidirectional videos. Here we propose a novel mapping scheme, known as the rhombic dodecahedron map (RD map) to represent data over the spherical domain. By using a family of skew great circles as the subdivision kernel, the RD map not only produces a sampling pattern with very low discrepancy, it can also support a highly efficient data indexing mechanism over the spherical domain. Since the proposed map is quad-based, geodesic-aligned, and of very low area and shape distortion, we can reliably apply 2D wavelet-based and DCT-based encoding methods that are originally designated to planar perspective videos. At the end, we perform a series of analysis and experiments to investigate and verify the effectiveness of the proposed method; with its ultra-fast data indexing capability, we show that we can playback omnidirectional videos with very high frame rates on conventional PCs with GPU support.

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