PhD Studentship: Vision Models for Cinema Applications

The Information and Communication Technologies department at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) invites applications for a PhD studentship position. The doctoral student will be joining the research group “Image Processing for Enhanced Cinematography” ( and will be co-supervised by Prof. Marcelo Bertalmío ( and by Prof. Jesús Malo ( from Universitat de València. The position is funded by the European Commission through its H2020 Programme.

Candidates should hold an M.Sc. with a solid background in mathematics and be proficient in spoken and written English. Experience in image processing, visual perception would be highly valuable.

Contact: please send application with CV, contact information of three references, and a summary of research accomplishments to marcelo DOT bertalmio AT upf DOT edu .

Description: The objective of this project is to develop image processing algorithms based mainly on vision science models that address different challenges in moviemaking, from shooting to exhibition.

Given that in terms of sensing capabilities cameras are in most regards better than human photoreceptors, the superiority of human vision over camera systems lies in the better processing which is carried out in the retina and the brain. Therefore, rather than working on the hardware, improving lenses and sensors, we resort instead to existing knowledge on visual neuroscience and models on visual perception to develop software methods mimicking neural processes in the human visual system, and apply these methods to images captured with regular cameras. We take the same approach when addressing projection/exhibition, developing vision-based image processing algorithms that try to overcome the limitations in contrast and color reproduction that current display systems have. 

We also want to translate motion picture know-how into better vision models, then use these models to develop image processing algorithms for cinema postproduction. As it has successfully been proven in the case of paintings, studying the craft of artists can give very profound insights into how vision works. Doing this for movies, where photographic realism can provide a very immersive surrogate for the perception of the real world, we expect to develop improved vision models for contrast and color perception that can be used to automatize filmmaking tasks, optimize results for emerging technologies, and process image content to maintain its appearance constant under changing viewing conditions. Furthermore, these models may open up new horizons in many different fields, having important scientific, as well as industrial and artistic, impact.

Remuneration: Gross salary is 1.500EUR/month. This is a very competitive scholarship given the cost of living in Spain (

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Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, is a public university located in Barcelona. It is the best Spanish university  according to the London Times higher education index, 2013, and it's the number one Spanish university in number of ERC grants. The Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC, consistently ranks among the top computer science departments in Spain (e.g. the only computer science department from an Spanish university that has even been included in the top 100 of the Shanghai Ranking). The accreditation Units of Excellence Maria de Maeztu 2016-19 recognizes the units in Spain that perform cutting-edge research and are among the world's best in their respective areas: only 3 university departments are accredited as such in Spain, and DTIC is the only one among technology and engineering. 

The DTIC is sited in UPF's Communication Campus, which was opened in 2009 and is located within the vibrant 22@ technological district of Barcelona. Its PhD program offers advanced training in this interdisciplinary field, becoming an innovative and unique program in Spain. The  PhD program has been growing steadily and currently hosts about 140 PhD students and 40 supervisors. The program received a Mention of Excellence award from the Ministry of Science and Innovation in 2011.

Departmental Indicators:

  • Research income: 15.6 M€ / year.
  • 67 FP7 projects participated and coordinated by 26 staff members (> 60% UPF EU funds) including 13 prestigious ERC Grants.
  • Leader in Spain with  > 5% of all the competitive funds obtained by Spanish Universities.
  • Consolidated scientific productivity: some 200 articles/year, more than 75% of them in Q1 international journals.
  • 50% scientific papers and articles with at least one international collaborator.