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Real-time, Mobile, Twoay Video (29 Aug 2004)
Color is a bandwidth hog. So in low bandwidth environments, Portrait shows you a black and white video. "We also found out that what people really want, what is most important to them, is the facial expression of the person they're viewing on the video," said Li.

People want to know whether their comments are getting a smile, a frown, or a confused look from the person they're talking to. They don't care as much about the color of your eyes, or whether you're wearing a red shirt or a blue shirt. "The most important feature is the outline of the eyes and mouth, and the motion of that outline, because they show facial expression," said Li. As long as your buddy is moving around and smiling, you're okay.
Article URL: http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.aspx?id=700

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