Imagine if your camera could capture the entire light field of a scene in 3D, turning every frame into a three-dimensional model? That is the idea behind the Lytro Cinema system, which uses Light Field technology to capture massive amounts of information per frame, allowing you to control the depth of field, hence, creating more flexibility in post. Oh, and it captures 300 frames per second, adding a level of speed control, including adjustable motion blur, that was previously limited to the live-action process.
In a video released by the company, Brendan Bevensee, lead engineer for Light Field Cideo/Lytro, said Light Field cinematography allows “the ability to capture everything about a scene — from different perspectives,different focal planes and different apertures. Every pixel now has color properties and directional properties, as well as exact placement in 3D space. Essentially we have a virtual camera that can be controlled in post production.”
Lytro says their capture system enables “the complete virtualization of the live-action camera —transforming creative camera controls from fixed, on-set decisions to computational post processes.”
In the aforementioned video, the head of Light Field Video/Lytro Jon Karafin said, “Lytro Cinema offers an infinite ability to focus anywhere in your scene. You have the infinite ability to focus and create any aperture or any depth of field. You can shift your camera to the left or to the right, as if you made that exact decision on set. It can even move your camera in and out. Automated camera tracking removes that tedious task of integration and matching. It has all of the volume, all of that depth information that easily allows you to composite and matte your CG objects. With Depth Screen it’s as if you have a greenscreen for every object, but it’s not limited to any one object, it’s anywhere in space.”
The rich dataset captured by the system produces a Light Field master that can be rendered in any format in post, allowing for a range of creative possibilities. The Light Field Master enables creators to render content in multiple formats —including IMAX, RealD and traditional cinema and broadcast at variable frame rates and shutter angles.
“Lytro has always been a company thinking about what the future of imaging will be,” said Ted Schilowitz, futurist at Fox Studios. “There are a lot of companies that have been applying new technologies and finding better ways to create cinematic content, and they are all looking for better ways and better tools to achieve live-action, highly immersive content. Lytro is focusing on getting a much bigger, better and more sophisticated cinematography-level dataset that can then flow through the VFX pipeline and modernize that world.”
Lytro Cinema offers:
— A sensor that offers 755 RAW megapixels at up to 300fps.
—Up to 16 stops of dynamic range and wide color gamut.
—Integrated high-resolution active scanning.
The Lytro Cinema package includes a camera, a server array for storage and processing — which can also be done in the cloud — and software to edit Light Field data. The entire system integrates into existing production and post workflows, working in tandem with popular industry standard tools.
Life the first short produced with Lytro Cinema in association with The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) will premiere at NAB on April 19 at 4pm PST in Room S222. Life was directed by Academy Award-winner Robert Stromberg, CCO at VRC (The Virtual Reality Company), and shot by David Stump, ASC, chief imaging scientist at VRC.
Senior finishing artist at Light Iron New York Katie Hinsen sees the possibilities. “The coolest thing about Lytro’s tech is that it captures the whole light field coming in to it, rather than a flat representation of the scene. So you can change focus in post, where you could pull stuff out that isn’t there. Basically, once you take a picture it’s still alive. Imagine you take a photo (or a video, now), and it’s got issues. With Lytro you’re capturing all the light information of the scene, not the image. So it’s all there and you can change it.”
Lytro Cinema will be available for production in Q3 of 2016 to exclusive partners on a subscription basis.