The operation was held in a surgical theater within COEM’s installations and was transmitted live via fiber optic to the 400 experts in attendance in the college’s auditorium. The two Christie Mirage projectors, equipped with zoom lens, relayed the event onto a high performance Harkness Hall screen with a gain level of 2.4 installed in the auditorium.
The transmission and visualization of the surgical operation was entrusted to 3D Experiences, a company with proven experience in transmitting and producing 3D stereoscopic content. Enrique Criado, the project supervisor, explained why it chose Christie as its technological partner: “Primarily for its features and technical quality, but above all for its reliability; after all, you cannot afford any kind of hiccups when transmitting a live medical event with an operation in real time.”
He added: “I have worked with Christie for over 20 years now, not just in 3D Experiences, but also throughout my career in other companies. As supervisor and head of audiovisual engineering, with Christie we have always had the end results that other brands can’t guarantee you. For us, Christie means two things: reliability and quality, and these are precisely the basic principles of our company.”
The quality of the image and of the 3D was the main issue around which the engineering of the event were based. The transmission of the image used a single fiber optic cable with various channels to extract all the necessary signals, thus minimizing risks and unneeded equipment that would hamper the surgical operation.
The Zeiss OPMI Pentero 800 system, one of the most advanced 3D microscopes in the market, was used for the surgery together with a Trenion 3D-HD module, a high-definition stereoscopic video device that allows surgeons to share 3D images effectively.
The two Christie Mirage projectors operated simultaneously to create a passive 3D projection, using warping techniques to match the 3D image pixel by pixel. The whole event was carried out in dual stream mode, offering a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 for each eye without compression, which is to say double the information received on the microscope’s 3D screen.
“The majority of stereoscopic events use compressed 3D signals with side-by-side format,” explained Enrique Criado. “The process of compressing two signals into the space of one degrades the quality of the image by up to 50 percent, which means that when you need large screens, the result is clearly deficient and generally very disappointing.”
“We, on the other hand, work with uncompressed images and double channel, in other words, we take the maximum advantage of the quality offered by our client’s microscope. In this case, the quality of the image was greater than the surgeon’s 3D monitor, and close to the optical quality of the 3D Zeiss microscope. That’s why the experts viewing the operation were absolutely delighted with the visual experience, which they said was comparable to that of the surgeon’s in the actual operation.”
In addition, 3D Experiences used a SIP (Stereo Image Processor) system to revise and correct any imperfection that might arise from the 3D image, while at once equalizing and color grading both signals with broadcast quality, and simultaneously feeding to the two Christie Mirage projectors. And all this was carried out in real time and in dual stream mode, without compromising the quality in the slightest.
The use of 3D in medicine is highly demanding, as the disparity of the image can be two or three times that of a conventional 3D movie in the cinema. “For this reason, the perfect adjustment can provide a much more comfortable visual experience, zero stress and zero visual fatigue. Christie technology not only offers exceptional image quality, but also the possibility of pixel perfect 3D adjustment with zero level of disparity in any area of the screen,” Criado concluded.
“The Christie Mirage projectors afford perfect stereoscopic calibration, uniform color and contrast, reproducing the image captured by the Zeiss microscope 100 percent exactly. I am convinced that there was not one viewer in the auditorium who did not notice and praise the quality of the image. And funnily enough, even the surgeons themselves, after later viewing the images recorded in 3D, were surprised at the visual experience which they said was so close to what they experienced in the microscope itself.”