While we are still early in the first inning of Virtual Reality, we are more convinced than ever that we are witnessing the dawn of a new medium. The early momentum is palpable and over the next 2-3 years we expect to see rapid advances in the hardware, software and content in VR, new companies entering the market and shipment of some of the first AR devices. Throughout the history of media, new technological innovations have enabled the creation of works of art that simply were not possible or practical previously. Today, content creators are clamoring for a set of tools and technologies built from the ground up for this new medium.
At Lytro, we believe we have the opportunity to be the company that defines the production pipeline, technologies and quality standards for an entire next generation of content. Achieving our vision will unleash a whole new wave of innovation in the industry, dramatically change the future of content across multiple platforms and should be a hell of a lot of fun.
The first part of this vision was “Moon,” the first 360 live action VR piece with 6DoF, created to demonstrate the possibilities of our tech and put Lytro Immerge — and our team — through the paces of our first production.
Through our experience with “Moon,” and after many months of discussion, research and development with leading filmmakers in VR, we refined the capture system into a planar configuration, which we deemed best suited to high-end VR production. Planar provides more control of the view volume to fit the creative needs of each shoot, allows the director to interact with the talent while filming and works well in the existing film infrastructure, i.e. production stages, lighting, sound. And, we can develop them based on project needs.
We’re really proud of how far we’ve come, not only is Lytro Immerge production ready, but the system:
- Represents first live action capture system that allows for Six Degrees of Freedom
- Provides the highest quality and highest resolution — greater than 6K per eye — on the market that enables high-end VR productions to future proof their content
- Allows for true presence: everything in the headset reacts as it should in the real world
- Seamlessly blends the physical and digital worlds, essential for the future of VR and Mixed Reality
And all of this effort has led us to our first customer project … we are super psyched to announce that we have completed production with the pioneering VR studio, Within, founded by Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin. We are in the midst of post-production, and more details will be released soon about the world premiere.
Creating a true sense of presence through Light Field is no small feat. It takes a multitude of smart engineers, talented artists, dedicated employees, and innovative partners to tackle some of the most interesting challenges we’re currently facing with cinematic storytelling. With those partners in mind, we’re excited to announce our latest round of funding of $60MM, led by Blue Pool Capital, with participation from EDBI, Foxconn, Silverlink Capital, Huayi Brothers and Barry Sternlicht, founder of Starwood. All existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, GSV, North Bridge and Qualcomm Ventures also participated in the round. We feel enormously honored to have the support of these world-class VCs and strategic partners and are excited to continue to push the envelope on product and technology development.
We’re lofty in our goals and the pursuit of our dreams — we want to do our part to turn science fiction into reality — but aim to be candid about the hurdles along the way. We believe that Light Field is the technology that will enable artists to create experiences that begin to realize the potential of this new medium: the intersection of content creators and code.