Multimedia Systems Design: An exciting journey with Media

Posted: May 8, 2017, 5:52pm

I took two courses this semester: Digital Image Processing (EE569) and Multimedia Systems Design (CSCI576). I wrote about the Image Processing Course in an earlier article. This one’s dedicated to one of my favorite courses in my entire academic journey.

The course is taken by Prof. Parag Havaldar, who is one of the most arduous professors I have had the fortune of being tutored by. In my first lecture at SGM 124, I came to know that he won an Academy Award for technical achievements in the movie Alice in Wonderland. That set the tone brilliantly for an exciting and interesting semester moving forward.

I would say that this course is a must for every Multimedia technologies enthusiast. We started off with how a basic multimedia system works, the vocabulary one must know to understand the underlying concepts. About how color televisions replaced the black and white ones, the practical difficulties encountered and how they were resolved in both the hardware and software realm, a complete understanding of how whatever we see on television comes into being, the different processes that take place to make watching movies a good experience for all of us. We understood how important color theory is and moved forward to understand and implement the algorithms we use to compress huge amounts of data that videos contain and how it is sent across. Understanding different video coding standards, the need for them and the practical limitations and then implementing them makes me now appreciate what I see on my laptop screen. This course made us aware of the insane amount of engineering that works in the background in movies, animation industry, 3D graphics and so on. Linear algebra plays an invaluable role in the same.

Our lectures were not just in SGM 124, but we also had a couple lectures at the Institute for Creative Technologies, USC, located in Playa Vista. These guest lectures apprised us with the current research going on in the field. We also came to know how the Prof worked on his award-winning work. I immensely appreciate this course and would recommend this highly to anyone working in the image processing/multimedia industry. Apart from the Professor’s exceptional teaching skills, he is also extremely friendly with the students and helps us all in every respect to improve our technical skills. I totally respect, admire and learn a lot from his experience and personality.

For those who want to know what exactly he worked on to win that shining Oscar: The pioneering system that he created “enabled large-scale use of animation rig-based facial performance-capture for motion pictures, combining solutions for tracking, stabilisation, solving and animator-controllable curve editing.” Simply put, he was honoured for the development of expression-based facial performance-capture technology at Sony Picture Imageworks.

Published on July 25th, 2017

Last updated on August 10th, 2017