Lytro Launches Light-Field Tool Aimed at Animated Virtual Reality, by Carolyn Giardina

Its first demonstration short will be presented this week at the On the Lot confab.

 

Lytro, the Silicon Valley-based company that’s developing light-field based technology for Hollywood, is launching a new tool for the animation community to use to create virtual reality and other immersive experiences.

Describing it as a “virtual version of our physical cameras,” Lytro Cinema general manager Buzz Hays said the new Lytro Volume Tracer is light-field technology-based software designed to help animators get a quality level and realism closer to that of high-end animated features, but with near real-time rendering, bringing it more in line with the capabilities offered in a game engine.

Read More:

Shot on Lytro’s Light-field Camera, ‘Hallelujah’ Is a Stunning Mix of Volumetric Film and Audio, by Ben Lang

Photo courtesy Lytro

Hallelujah is a new experience by VR film studio Within that’s captured using Lytro’s latest Immerge light-field camera which captures volumetric footage that makes for a much more immersive experience than traditional 360 video. Hallelujah is a performance of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 song of the same name, and mixes the latest in VR film capture technology with superb spatial audio to form a stunning experience.

Lytro’s Immerge camera is unlike any 360 camera you’ve seen before. Instead of shooting individual ‘flat’ frames, the Immerge camera has a huge array of cameras which gather many views of the same scene, data which is crunched by special software to recreate the actual shape of the environment around the camera. The big benefit of which is that the playback puts the viewer in a virtual capture of the space, allowing for a limited amount of movement within the scene, whereas traditional 360 video only captures a static viewpoint which is essentially stuck to your head. Not to mention the Immerge camera also provides true stereo and outputs a much higher playback quality. The result is a much richer and more immersive VR film experience than what you’ve seen with traditional 360 video shoots.

Read More:

The YI HALO Camera Rig Shoots 8K x 8K Stereoscopic Video, by Olaf von Voss

8K x 8K. That’s already an amazing figure on its own, but there is more to this device than just a massive pixel count. In terms of design, the YI HALO works as the frame that holds seventeen 2.5K action cameras. 16 of them handle the horizontal view while one camera faces up, and they are all connected internally to the main unit that also powers them.

This design makes the YI HALO completely modular. If something happens to one of the cameras, you can just replace it with one of the two spares it comes with, and you can even replace them with newer models once these become obsolete – something that doesn’t take very long in the camera world these days. Firmware upgrades are also easy to do: they can be triggered for all connected cameras through the interface on the main unit.

Read More:

360 Designs Introduces the World’s First Broadcast Quality 6K VR Drone

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Live streaming VR pioneers, 360 Designs, today announced the release of Flying EYE™, the world’s first broadcast quality, live streaming, virtual reality drone. Flying EYE is the first drone system capable of streaming live, 6K, 360 video, with a range of over 5 miles.

Flying EYE marks a major advancement in live streaming video technology. Using a custom wireless transmission system – Breeze™ – developed exclusively by 360 Designs, live VR streams can be broadcast anywhere in the world in ultra-high quality, and streamed live to YouTube, Facebook or VR headsets. Viewers can get a sense of flying “like a bird” as they hover above sporting, news, and music events.

“We wanted to create a broadcast quality live 360 drone platform for professionals, so they can create stunning live VR productions, with or without the drone in shot,” said Alx Klive, CEO of 360 Designs. “The sky is no longer the limit.”

Perfect for 360 video, the system has applications for traditional TV broadcasting, with the company recently demonstrating how it is possible to extract a zoomable, pannable 2D high-definition feed, from live 360 footage. With studio-grade camera sensors and a broadcast-standard SDI/NDI workflow, technical directors, DP’s, and VR supervisors can be assured of the highest-quality live image and an easy-to-integrate system.

Key Features:

  • 6K 360 Video – High-quality wireless video system offers near uncompressed, low latency (<1sec), broadcast-grade 6K video.
  • Long Range – Astonishing wireless streaming video range, over 5 miles.
  • Best-in-class 360 Camera – Designed to carry the company’s popular Mini EYE 3 camera, Flying EYE is also compatible with other 3-camera, HDMI or SDI-based VR rigs.
  • Automated Live Stitching – The company’s proprietary Breeze 6K wireless transmission system pairs with an integrated live stitching system, removing the need to stitch 360 video footage later. The system can also be used for live 2D wireless transmission, at greater than UHD resolution.
  • Broadcast Standards – Professional-grade 6G SDI output (4K), 6K NDI, or, 6K H.265 (HEVC).
  • Fully Customizable – Each system can be custom-built and tailored to the needs of the customer.
  • Reliable Drone Platform – Uses the popular DJI Matrice 600 Series commercial UAV.
  • Single Operator – Can be operated by one person, no camera positioning is needed with 360 video.

Read More:

Lytro’s Latest VR Light-field Camera is Huge, and Hugely Improved, by Ben Lang

In the last few years, Lytro has made a major pivot away from consumer-facing digital camera products now to high-end production cameras and tools, with a major part of the company’s focus on the ‘Immerge’ light-field camera for VR. In February, Lytro announced it had raised another $60 million to continue developing the tech. I recently stopped by the company’s offices to see the latest version of the camera and the major improvements in capture quality that come with it.

The first piece of content captured with an Immerge prototype was the ‘Moon’ experience which Lytro revealed back in August of 2016. This was a benchmark moment for the company, a test of what the Immerge camera could do:

 
Now, to quickly familiarize yourself with what makes a light-field camera special for VR, the important thing to understand is that light-field cameras shoot volumetric video. So while the basic cameras of a 360-degree video rig output flat frames of the scene, a light-field camera is essentially capturing data enough to recreate the scene as complete 3D geometry as seen within a certain volume. The major advantage is the ability to play the scene back through a VR headset with truly accurate stereo and allow the viewer to have proper positional tracking inside the video; both of which result in much more immersive experience, or what we recently called “the future of VR video.” There’s also more advantages of light-field capture that will come later down the road when we start seeing headsets equipped with light-field displays… but that’s for another day.

Read More:

The Guru 360° is a Clever Portable Stabiliser for 360° Cameras, by Dominic Brennan

The Guru 360° is the first 3-axis gimbal designed specifically for 360-degree cameras. Adding to the flexibility of the MOZA interchangeable gimbal system, the unit works with all lightweight 360-degree cameras with minimal obstruction to the field of view.
360-degree or spherical video has played a significant role in the growth of modern VR, introducing the concept of ‘free-look’ to the mainstream consumer through social media, thanks to 360 video support on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Accessible on even the most inexpensive, Cardboard-style VR headsets, combined with the advent of capable entry-level cameras like Samsung’s Gear 360 and Ricoh’s Theta S, 360 video’s popularity is growing rapidly.

Unfortunately, the limitations of current 360 capture mean that, viewed in VR, there are several optical inaccuracies at play, even when using more advanced stereoscopic hardware; some would argue that it doesn’t really qualify as VR. As such, some footage can be quite uncomfortable, causing nausea. Video stability is a major culprit, and 360 cameras exacerbate the problem of handheld capture severely. Watching footage of someone walking with a 360 camera can be a horrendous experience in a headset.

Read More:

Jaunt Announces Bi-Coastal Availability of Jaunt ONE Professional VR Camera

Expanding Rental Program Brings Award-Winning Camera to AbelCine

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jaunt Inc., the industry leader in cinematic virtual reality (VR), today announced that the award-winning Jaunt ONE camera is being made available to even more creators through an expanding rental program. AbelCine, a leading provider of products and services to the production, broadcast and new media industries, is the latest company to offer the Jaunt ONE for rent.

“Whether they’re a frequent experimenter of new mediums or a proven filmmaker dabbling in VR for the first time, we want to equip creators of all backgrounds with everything needed to bring their stories to life.”

The Jaunt ONE 24G model camera – which features 24 global shutter sensors, ideal for low-light and fast moving objects, and ability to couple with 360° ambisonic audio recording – will be available to rent from AbelCine. Creators will also have access to AbelCine’s training, workshops and educational tools for shooting in VR.

The nationwide availability of the Jaunt ONE camera, paired with access to the company’s end-to-end VR pipeline, provides filmmakers, creators and artists with the hardware and software solutions for shooting, producing and distributing immersive cinematic VR experiences.

Hardware – Rent the award-winning Jaunt ONE camera through AbelCine or Radiant Images
Software – Jaunt Cloud Services (JCS) provides the tools necessary to edit, stitch and render stereoscopic 360° footage
Distribution – Submit high quality VR content for distribution directly to the Jaunt VR app through the Jaunt Publishing program
“As we continue to open the Jaunt pipeline to the expanding community of VR creators, AbelCine is a perfect partner to not only get the Jaunt ONE camera in the hands of filmmakers, but also to educate them on the opportunities in VR,” said Koji Gardiner, Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Jaunt. “Whether they’re a frequent experimenter of new mediums or a proven filmmaker dabbling in VR for the first time, we want to equip creators of all backgrounds with everything needed to bring their stories to life.”

“At AbelCine, we are always on the lookout for cutting-edge storytelling tools, and this describes the Jaunt ONE perfectly,” said Mike Nichols, Business Development Manager. “Our clients rely on us for assistance in adopting new technologies and providing outstanding technical support on these projects. We are excited to do just this, and help our clients discover what’s possible with the Jaunt ONE.”

Creators interested in shooting with Jaunt ONE should stop by AbelCine’s booth #1149 at NAB Show NY, November 9-10 at the Javits Convention Center, where the camera will be on display.

Jaunt is also expanding its existing rental program with LA-based Radiant Images to increase the number of cameras available to their customers. For more general information on the Jaunt ONE camera and Jaunt Cloud Services, please visit:

https://www.jauntvr.com/technology/

About Jaunt Inc.

Jaunt is pioneering the future of creative storytelling through cinematic virtual reality. Founded in 2013, Jaunt is the leading developer of the hardware, software, tools, and applications to enable cinematic VR and put the power of virtual reality in the hands of today’s best content creators. In addition, Jaunt works with leading creatives – from brands to artists to filmmakers – to create cutting-edge content through its studio arm, Jaunt Studios. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company also maintains a presence in Los Angeles and produces branded and original VR content for audiences worldwide.

Jaunt’s investors include The Walt Disney Company, Evolution Media Partners, China Media Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat. 1 SE, The Madison Square Garden Company, Peter Gotcher, Blake Krikorian, and Sky (corporate.sky.com). Experience more at www.jauntvr.com.

About AbelCine

AbelCine, established in 1989, is a full service equipment and technology provider to the broadcast, production and new media industries, with facilities in New York City, Burbank, CA and Chicago, IL. Core services include equipment sales, financing, training, rental and tech services. For more information, visit www.abelcine.com.

Contacts
Double Forte for Jaunt
Lyndsey Besser, 415-500-0619
Jaunt_DF@double-forte.comjaunt

Sphericam releases Beast 360 VR camera system at NAB Show In NY

Sphericam Beast camera head
Sphericam Beast camera head

Sphericam Inc. will be launching its newest 360º camera system at the NAB Show in New York City on November 9 after several months of intense stealth development.

The new Sphericam Beast camera system is a large-format, high-end, cinema grade, modular and easily scalable 360º video capture system that can also stream live to the web or to headsets. The first iteration of the system uses four 1” inch sensors and four M.2 SSD drives to capture uncompressed 360 degree video at an output resolution of more than 6K at 60fps and 10-bit RAW format.

Sphericam is expanding its product portfolio with a new studio-grade virtual reality camera system designed from the ground up to offer best-in-class fully spherical image capture and streaming performance for high-end filmmakers and broadcasters. The Sphericam team has created this “truly cinematic” system with great care and consideration, providing production groups the level of quality and resolution they have been asking us for. “For a young venture backed company the decision to address the challenges of the professional users rather than to focus on the large volume consumer solutions is a defining moment. We feel our strengths are understanding the most demanding product and technical aspects of spherical video capture and providing the industry with no-compromise tools to empower a true cambrian explosion of quality immersive content,” said founder and CEO Jeffrey Martin.

Read More:

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-8-27-07-am

Intel acquires Voke VR as it moves into immersive sports tech, by Mark Hachman

Very few people have likely either seen or heard of VR sports at this point, but that hasn’t stopped Intel from quickly snapping up its second startup, Voke, to lock up what it calls “immersive sports experiences.”

Intel said Thursday that it has bought Voke, described as a leader in bringing “live, virtual reality experiences to consumers.” “Imagine being able to witness a slam dunk from the defender’s perspective or the defensive rush from the quarterback’s perspective,” James Carwana, the general manager of Intel’s Sports Group, wrote in a blog post. “This kind of experience may sound futuristic, but it’s closer than you think.”

Voke uses an array of paired-lens, stereoscopic cameras to capture events like the Final Four and New York’s Fashion Week, then allows users to hopscotch around them to view the action from their choice of perspective.

That’s somewhat similar to Intel’s second VR acqusition, Replay Technologies, which Intel bought in March. Replay uses what it calls “freeD” cameras scattered around a basketball court, and combines the video inside Intel’s own servers. The aggregated, stitched-together video feed essentially turns a live feed of a basketball game into a live 3D model of the action, which users can also rotate or zoom in and out of to experience the action as they want. It appears that Voke’s technology may be used to provide more realistic video images that could be later stitched together using the Replay technology.

Read More:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-9-54-34-am

AMD BB360 Virtual Reality Camera Created For Arka Mediaworks, By Julian Horsey

AMD has this week revealed it has created a new virtual reality camera specifically for the Indian film industry and Arka Mediaworks. The news was revealed at this year’s Mumbai Film Festival held last week and AMD and Arka Mediaworks have been working together to develop the new VR camera.

Arka Mediaworks is hoping to use a camera to film the Baahubali 2: The Conclusion in 360-degree virtual reality although the primary version will also be available in 2D with each scene of the film process additionally producing 360 degree virtual reality.

Read More:

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-10-07-06-am