The Lytro Immerge Is A Virtual Reality Game Changer – But Expensive!

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

You may have heard of Lytro before. They’re those guys that made the camera that you can adjust focus on in post. Pretty cool, right? Well, they’re working on virtual reality technology now and what they’ve come up with sure looks a hell of a lot like what the future of virtual reality capture could be. The Lytro Immerge.

This isn’t what we’ve seen in the past. It’s not just cameras placed in a 360-degree array. It’s a portable, end to end system that looks and acts like something out of a sci-fi film. When looking at the five ring sphere that’s used to capture the visual information, you can imagine it’d be easy for it to fit in amongst the urban backdrop in Minority Report. It’s not all looks either. For all of the futuristic aesthetic, it’s matched with a futuristic description. Lytro calls this a, “light-field volume.” Not a conventional camera.

cinema5d goes into all of the details that this end to end system uses, including it’s own server and software. So instead of trying to explain it better, I’d like to go in a different direction. In the past, I’ve written that for some, me included, it feels as if we’re seeing the birth of a new art form, and perhaps the future of cinema. Technology like the Lytro Immerge adds credence to this notion, but it also turns it on it’s head.

The way that the Immerge captures light, enhances the audience’s belief in the reality of what you’re seeing. The incredibly accurate duplication of the way light interacts with reflections and other objects is in an attempt to cheat the viewer into believing they’re somewhere that they’re not.

Cinema, a great majority of the time, is not made in any attempt to do this. Of course, film relies on your suspension of disbelief and your empathy quite a bit, but very often, its goal isn’t to have you believe you’re actually there. It’s presented in a way that lets you experience it the way a director and writer want you to.

The question is: What genres and types of visual entertainment (other than porn) will implement Virtual Reality most effectively? If you have any opinions, we’d love to hear them. Or maybe you think VR is a sham. However, after looking at the Lytro Immerge, it’s hard to call the future of virtual reality anything other than inevitable.

Now it isn't for the meek or the every day shooter, they anticipate the entire system will be ‘a couple hundred thousand dollars' – but the concept is cool!

Lytro Immerge – The World’s First Light Field Solution for Cinematic VR

Via cinema5d:

The idea of capturing light rays instead of a flat image is an interesting concept. This will allow users to change things like focal range in post. Lytro have taken it a step further and developed Lytro Immerge – the world’s first light field solution for cinematic VR.

Lytro Immerge

Via Vimeo Description:
Lytro Immerge is the world's first professional Light Field solution for cinematic VR, providing lifelike presence for live action VR through Six Degrees of Freedom. It is built from the ground up to seamlessly blend live action and computer graphics (CG) using Light Field data. With configurable capture and playback solutions, it supports a range of new immersive storytelling needs.

Lytro burst onto the scene three years ago with its first light-field camera. The company’s imaging technology has always been groundbreaking. They brought still cameras onto the market that allow you to capture a shot, then in post let you decide where to focus and how to adjust the depth-of-field. The usual cameraman’s term “fix it in post” can now be applied to things that were never before possible in still photography and now cinematography. However, Lytro’s first two cameras were far from good. Its recent Lytro Illum looked like a DSLR with a hefty pricetage of $1600, but could neither capture great image quality, nor could it shoot video, despite its innovative refocusing technology.

Lytro captures Light rays instead of a flat image

Lytro captures Light rays instead of a flat image

A Lytro camera that shot video was inevitable. Lytro has set its sights on capturing VR video, and the company is announcing a new end-to-end system that could radically change the possibilities for VR viewers and filmmakers alike.

The Lytro Immerge system has been in development for about a year and a half. It’s the first Lytro product intended for professional video production.

Read full article at cinema5D “Lytro Immerge – The World’s First Light Field Solution for Cinematic VR”

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(cover photo credit: snap from cinema5D)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy

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