SIGGRAPH 2018: Learn About Google’s Efforts To Capture Light Fields

by Ian Hamilton • August 15th, 2018

Google’s experts in light field capture technology revealed an in-depth look at their work at SIGGRAPH this week.

A couple years ago Google hired Paul Debevec, one of the pioneering leaders in light field capture, and since then he’s been working with teams there to develop new and scalable ways to capture reality. Welcome to Light Fields is a free app on Steam showcasing their work, letting you sit inside a Space Shuttle, for example, and move your head around in any direction as if you are really there. Over time, Google’s capture systems and methods have improved and this presentation offers the deepest dive yet into the work Google is doing with light fields.

Check out two of the rotating camera rigs Google developed to capture reality:

I found all sorts of interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout this talk, like the reason they put a marker in the center of their rotating camera rig. They told subjects not to move an inch but to keep their eyes focused on the marker as the cameras rotated around in a circle. The solution ensures that when you experience the captured scene in VR, no matter where you move your head you’ll be making eye contact with the subjects in the captured scene.

Check out the full video below, with Debevec starting at the 10:35 mark. Also, 30 minutes into the video the subject changes to Coral, the mind-bending fractal VR software from Framsetore.

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