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In consumer video conferencing, lighting conditions are usually not ideal thus the image qualities are poor. Lighting affects image quality on two aspects: brightness and skin tone. While there has been much research on improving the brightness of the captured images including contrast enhancement and noise removal (which can be thought of as components for brightness improvement), little attention has been paid to the skin tone aspect. In contrast, it is a common knowledge for professional stage lighting designers that lighting affects not only the brightness but also the color tone which plays a critical role in the perceived look of the host and the mood of the stage scene. Inspired by stage lighting design, we propose an active lighting system which automatically adjusts the lighting so that the image looks visually appealing. The system consists of computer controllable light emitting diode light sources of different colors so that it improves not only the brightness but also the skin tone of the face. Given that there is no quantitative formula on what makes a good skin tone, we use a data driven approach to learn a good skin tone model from a collection of photographs taken by professional photographers. We have developed a working system and conducted user studies to validate our approach.
Circuits and Systems for Video Technology, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009