This paper gives an end-to-end overview of 3D video and free viewpoint video, which can be regarded as advanced functionalities that expand the capabilities of a 2D video. Free viewpoint video can be understood as the functionality to freely navigate within real world visual scenes, as it is known for instance from virtual worlds in computer graphics. 3D video shall be understood as the functionality that provides the user with a 3D depth impression of the observed scene, which is also known as stereo video. In that sense as functionalities, 3D video and free viewpoint video are not mutually exclusive but can very well be combined in a single system. Research in this area combines computer graphics, computer vision, and visual communications. It spans the whole media processing chain from capture to display, and the design of systems has to take all parts into account, which is outlined in different sections of this paper giving an end-to-end view and mapping of this broad area. The conclusion is that the necessary technology including standard media formats for 3D video and free viewpoint video is available or will be available in the future and that there is a clear demand from industry and user for such advanced types of visual media. As a consequence, we are witnessing these days how such technology enters our everyday life.
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