In both AR and VR, we’ve found that there’s a direct correlation between life-like presence and high-fidelity/immersion. In order to sustain presence you need both immersion and sufficient fidelity; at the minimum that requires photo-realistic views in any direction within a given volume of space. At Lytro, we believe Light Field enables just that, with full six degrees of freedom (6DoF), correct parallax, view dependent lighting/shading and perfect stereo in every direction.
Content creators have two common options that allow them to create VR experiences. One option is with 360° video which provides great fidelity, but lower immersion with only three degrees of freedom (3DoF). The other option is through real-time engines which provide great immersion through 6DoF, but with lower fidelity. With all of this in mind, Lytro’s solutions, Lytro Immerge and Lytro Volume Tracer (Lytro VT), fill the gap between real-time engines and 360° video capture systems by providing a high fidelity and fully immersive VR experience inside of a navigable Light Field volume. Additionally, with a Light Field master of the content, we can also render multiple formats for distribution at the highest quality supported by each playback device or platform. On a mobile device or the web, 3DoF monoscopic or omnistero editions can be created from the Light Field master at up to 10k resolution. Most mobile devices or web platforms today only support 4k or 6k resolution.
So when you discover a Lytro Reality Experience from your favorite studio or filmmaker, you can be assured that it is the highest quality and immersive playback experience available for that venue, device or platform. Below outlines the different ways you may encounter a Lytro Reality Experience.
- On 6DoF supported mobile and home devices: Existing industry standard geometric representations are rendered from the Light Field master, providing a playback experience with a level of fidelity and view volume size appropriate for desktops, laptops and mobile class of devices. Below is a demo we created on an iPad, where geometric representations of Bobby Halvorson from Hallelujah are rendered from the Light Field master.
- At a location based entertainment venue: A 6DoF edition containing the Light Field volume with correct parallax, view dependent lighting/shading and perfect stereo in every direction is provided for playback. Currently, the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal Leonard Cohen Exhibit is featuring the 6DoF edition of Hallelujah until April 2018.
When the 6DoF edition of Hallelujah was first released for location based entertainment venues seven months ago to rave reviews, we still challenged ourselves on how to improve the fidelity of the experience. Today, we’ve been able to increase the fidelity significantly, supporting transparency and anti-aliasing. Below is an example that highlights the improvements:
As we continue to improve the experience for viewers, we are also advancing our overall solution to improve the production workflow for content creators. With more than a year of R&D under our belts since the first test production, coupled with our lessons from a series of hands-on customer productions, we have updated the Lytro Immerge system across the board.
Lytro Immerge still features a planar capture system with 95 individual cameras, 91 of which face forward, 2 face up, another 2 face down. The biggest improvement in this design is that we’ve criss-crossed the rows of lenses, increasing the system’s field of view from 90° to 120°, allowing the capture of a full 360° scene in as few as three rotations, or what we like to call wedges (versus the five wedges that were required previously).
By reducing the number of wedges and increasing the system’s field of view, we are significantly increasing the on-set live action area. This means there is more space for actors, objects, or characters to move within a scene. Additionally, we’ve increased our overall capture time by 40%, using 40% less storage and processing time, while improving visual quality.
Despite all of these improvements, the capture system is just a means to an end – great immersive content. Adding to what can be captured in live action, it also supports seamless integration with VFX-grade rendered CG content using Lytro VT. This provides a familiar post-production/VFX pipeline using existing industry standard tools, upgraded to the world of Light Field.
With the combination of Lytro Immerge and Lytro VT as additional production options for immersive content creators, storytellers can now provide the Lytro Reality Experience for their viewers. The Lytro Reality Experience not only delivers the highest quality VR/AR cross platform playback experience, but exceeds the resolution supported by hardware today. So when the highly anticipated devices and headsets of tomorrow arrive, the Lytro Reality Experience will still provide the highest quality experience available.