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Uncorporeal Brings Real People into VR with Lightfield Capture

Lightfield capture is one of the most promising areas of virtual reality (VR) right now. Companies such as OTOY are using this technology, which utilises unique cameras to capture light intensity, to provide full 3D translations of real world areas into VR. So far, however, work in this field has been limited to just environments. Now a new studio named Uncorporeal Systems is exploring using lightfield capture on real people, seamlessly bringing them into the VR world and delivering the most realistic character models yet seen within the medium, designed for filmmaking.

An example of Uncorporeal Systems’ work, first seen on Wired, is below. This is a trailer for One Reality is Not Enough, a new VR movie that’s on its way to ‘all VR devices’. Directed by Sebastian Marino, an Academy Award winner known for his work on the special-effects of James Cameron’s Avatar, the short piece is set in a dank apartment. Here, viewers will meet a woman swaying to and fro, referencing Alice in Wonderland and asking them to choose between 2 doors. The apartment itself is created using the Unity Engine, but the character is a direct translation of a real actor put into VR after being recorded with lightfield cameras.

Recording this scene in real life was done using proprietary camera-on-a-chip tech, motion-tracking pixels in 3D. Once captured, the entire actor’s body and performance can be dropped into the Unity Engine with the company’s own plug-in. Their presence in the virtual environment is fully 3D, even casting a virtual shadow. The result is a VR film with real people that doesn’t lose positional tracking as seen in 360 degree footage. One Reality is Not Enough appears to be the company’s first project, although Marino notes that it is talking with a number of Hollywood studios.

It’s not yet clear when One Reality is Not Enough will be releasing for VR enthusiasts to check out for themselves. VRFocus will continue to follow Uncorporeal System’s work with VR, reporting back with the latest updates from the company.