Lytro, best known for its pair of cameras that allow manipulation of focal points after an image has been captured, is shifting its focus (no pun intended) from still photography to virtual reality filmmaking.
The camera itself is a large sphere that’s comprised of multiple layers mounted on a tripod. Accompanying the camera is a large server on wheels that provides storage and processing needed to capture and manage data.
On the software side, Lytro provides a Light Field editor that integrates with existing visual effects tools and a Light Field video playback engine compatible with leading VR headsets and platforms including the Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, the HTC Vive VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens.
The Lytro Immerge was built from the ground up to provide lifelike presence in VR with “six degrees of freedom.” Lytro CTO Kurt Akeley said the system doesn’t just stitch together images that were captured but instead, rebuilds a version of the scene that reacts to the user.
As you’ve likely gathered by now, the Immerge won’t be a consumer product. Instead, Lytro is hoping to attract the attention of major production studios with massive budgets.
At this stage, we’re looking at little more than a promising concept with lots of unanswered questions. The original Lytro camera captivated the photography world but the finished product was a disappointment largely due to poor image quality. As PCMag correctly points out, filmmakers won’t think twice about using the Immerge if its image quality isn’t top-notch.
Lytro is currently accepting applications for prototype access.