Though still experimental in nature, light field capture technology presents one of the most promising solutions for delivering photorealistic VR experiences, and one company working with the tech just raised a lot of money to help push it forward.
Lytro, a company working on a light field solution for cinematic VR, today announced that it raised $60 million in a series D round of funding, led by Blue Pool Capital.
The company’s solution, dubbed Lytro Immerge, was announced last year, and offers an end-to-end means of delivering light field captured VR experiences. That starts with its proprietary camera rig that captures information from light rays in a scene including colors and where the rays bounce. With this information, the system is able to capture much more than a 360-degree video. The data captured by Lytro would let you move your head around inside photorealistic environments. That’s something that you’re not able to do in current live-action VR experiences.
Captured content can be edited with existing tools and then viewed via streaming, removing the need for huge downloads of data on a PC or mobile headset. The result would be high-end VR content like the company’s Moon video, which we saw last year.
Since revealing Immerge, Lytro has been working with creative teams to showcase what it can do. Today, it’s announcing a partnership with Within, one of the better known 360 degree video platforms. The pair have completed production on one of the first full experiences to use the technology, which will be debuting in Q2 of this year.
Lytro isn’t alone in this field as a number of companies attempt to figure out how to efficiently capture, render and display light fields, including OTOY.
Though it is still a ways off from mainstream adoption, light field capture could be one of the most important technologies in VR’s future. Combining this type of content with the standalone headsets that are on the horizon could create incredibly immersive experiences that aren’t connected to PCs.