Lytro On Their Light-Field Technology And Taking Virtual Reality Where It Needs To Be

“With our system, you don't have to be limited by the game engine."

Last month VRFocus went to AR and VR on the Lot, (previously known as just VR on the Lot) to uncover what Hollywood’s high-end blockbuster creatives are looking at, and caught up with Lytro, a company specialising in light-field cameras and technology.

The changing of the event’s name, may tell you how the introduction of augmented reality (AR) applications such as Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore will be shaping the future of content in the entertainment industry. VRFocus spoke to Orin Green, the VR/VFX Supervisor at Lytro Inc. to talk about what they’re focusing on, the virtual reality (VR) experiences they were showcasing as well as what they were doing at AR & VR on the Lot.

Green explains that Lytro’s focus is on live action and animated capture, enabling content creators to have the freedom to use both 3D models or real-life locations for future projects. He said that through Lytro’s ability to capture light-fields, it opens up a whole new world for individuals looking to use true 6 Degrees of Freedom (6 DoF) for their VR experiences, allowing the user to move around freely in a more natural way, for a more immersive experience.

The mechanical bird and laser-like head from ‘One Morning’

A lot of 360 VR experiences have problems with creating realistic environments or experiences; where a user is normally stuck to the position of where the camera is situated, therefore unable to move around in a space. The freedom of movement allowed in 6 DoF virtual reality would enable a user to walk around a 3D environment that looks highly realistic. Examples of the environments Lytro have created with their technology can be seen in the video below.

Lytro showcased three VR experiences at AR and VR on the Lot. The first is Hallelujah, which is also available on Within’s website and app. With singer and composer Bobby Halvorson performing Leonard Cohen’s classic track. The musical experience premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in the U.S. and internationally at Cannes Film Festival in France. When in the experience you will see Halvorson start singing in-front of you, then several versions of him as he starts to add a unique five-part a cappella around you. The piece escalates to suddenly finding yourself inside a church before Halvorson is joined by a choir.

The second VR experience allowed users to walk around fully rendered CGI environment in 6 DoF. “Right now when you get animated environments, they often get generated from game engines which have very limited rendering capabilities.” Green explains. “With our system, you don’t have to be limited by the game engine.”

Their third experience One Morning, is the first light field animated short film in history by director Rodrigo Blaas. Blaas has done animation work on Wall-E (2008), Up (2009) and Finding Nemo (2003) and worked for years at Pixar and Dreamworks Animation. The short VR experience has a small mechanical bird with a red laser head come around a blue car, it comes to inspect you then suddenly a larger mechanical bird (presumably it’s mother of father) appears.

Lytro attended AR and VR on the Lot not only to showcase their technologies and future capabilities of VR for future content, but to also make new contacts and meet creators interested in starting a partnership with Lytro for future content creation. Watch the video below to find out more.

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