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Lytro announces world’s first light field VR video camera - UploadVR
Earlier this year Lytro, the company behind the world’s first consumer light field camera, made a monumental $50 million pivot into the VR space. At the time, the company was rather quiet as to what would come of that pivot but that didn’t stop our own Ryan Damm from sifting through the tea leaves to piece their plans together. In his article, Damm predicted that Lytro had pivoted with that money to create a light field camera for VR: “imagine Lytro produces a ‘camera’ that’s essentially a holographic box; it captures all the light rays entering a defined space. Using creative 2D slices, you could synthesize any perspective from within that box (and perhaps some beyond the box, looking back through it, with limited field of view).” Well today, Damm gets to look like a prophet because that is exactly what Lytro has been working on, the world’s first live action light field 360º camera. Dubbed “Lytro Immerge,” Lytro’s new camera and the technology stack to go along with it represent a potentially massive step forward for high-end VR content creation. Read More: Just what the heck is a light field anyway? Right now in the virtual reality world, there is a lot of debate as to whether 360º video is actually VR. Ask Alan Yates, Valve’s Chief Pharologist, what he thinks about it and he will give you his honest opinion, and it isn’t a favorable one. But if you ask him about light field capture, well, that’s a whole different story: @JasonZnack nope, lightfield is far more compelling. — Alan Yates (@vk2zay) September 15, 2015 Light field capture brings a dimensionality beyond anything we have seen with spherical video. Many companies, like Jaunt and NextVR for example, have claimed to capture light fields. Their cameras are able to add a degree of parallax, the ability to shift perspective, which while awesome isn’t really a light field. (For more on why that is be sure to check out Damm’s article on the subject). A rendering of Lytro Immerge So, what makes Lytro Immerge different? Unlike standard 360º video, light field video captured with Lytro Immerge allows for six degrees of motion freedom within the camera’s volume, which is about one meter. This means that you could conceivably move around within the volume of the sphere and lean in toward objects. In addition to adding a degree of positionally tracked volume to the scene, a true light field recording like Lytro’s creates both horizontal and vertical parallax, giving the scene true depth and perspective regardless of your viewing angle. OTOY’s light field rig. The system spins the camera around two axes while shooting stills, which is great if you want to spend three hours shooting per frame. We have seen some awesome real world light field captures before from OTOY, however those images were still. In contrast, Lytro Immerge is able to capture a full 360º light field in motion at “high cinematic frame rates.” So how exactly does one do that? Lytro Immerge uses a modular camera system consisting of “hundreds” of individual cameras [...]