November 5, 2015

Lytro Immerge Is the Professional Virtual Reality Camera System of the Future

Lytro Immerge Virtual Reality Camera
Lytro, the company known for its innovative light field cameras, is expanding into the growing world of virtual reality.

In a press release today, Lytro announced the Immerge virtual reality camera system. Not only does the Immerge look like it was sent from the future, but it's packed with Lytro's signature light field technology, which could very well represent the future of how virtual reality content is produced.

Here's the Immerge introduction video:

The Immerge contains five discrete layers of light field sensors, with the entire camera having hundreds of individual sensors in total. Here's what Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal has to say about how the image quality of Immerge will stack up against current VR cameras (sourced from Engadget):

One of the layers represents somewhere between three and four times the data and resolution of any VR camera that exists today. And we're doing that times five. It's a massive leap forward in terms of the way we capture and sample the real world. 

Lytro Immerge Virtual Reality Camera

The Immerge system isn't just about extremely high-resolution virtual reality content, however. It's also promising a more immersive and interactive experience thanks to the light field technology, which allows viewers to interact with depth cues in a more realistic fashion. Here, again, is Rosenthal:

Imagine a camera staying stationary, but being able to move your head around and getting further and closer away from an object in a scene, having the reflection and the light rays adjusting accordingly. What the light field volume represents is, we’re densely capturing all the rays in a given geometric volume, and then we’ve built software that lets us play back those rays at very high frame rates and at high resolution. It gives you the perfect recreation of the actual world you’re capturing.

Lytro Immerge Server

Lytro is positioning Immerge as a complete end-to-end system for virtual reality video production. Unlike the other VR cameras on the market, which are largely comprised of an array of consumer cameras and require the user to process all of the data and stitch it together, the Immerge comes with a dedicated server stack in order to store and process the vast amount of data produced by the camera.

In addition, Lytro is producing plugins that will be compatible with professional NLE and compositing softwares (FCP, Premiere, and Nuke were all mentioned by name). These plugins will allow users to import and work with Immerge video inside of their existing post production workflows. Lastly, Lytro has developed its own virtual reality playback engine, which will be compatible with all of the most popular VR headsets like the Oculus Rift.

While there's no pricing information for Immerge as of yet, there's very little reason to expect that it will fit into anybody's definition of "affordable." Most likely it will come in somewhere in the low to mid six-figure range. Immerge is expected to be available for both purchase and rental during the first quarter of 2016, but you can apply for early access to a prototype through the Lytro website.      

Your Comment

9 Comments

Wow, just imagine collaboration onlines with other film maker/photographers.

November 5, 2015 at 9:39PM

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Alexander Lozano
Hobbyist Filmmaker
123

No idea of what this rig is going to cost ?

November 6, 2015 at 3:04AM, Edited November 6, 3:15AM

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Pierre Steytler
Technical Director
88

Found this elsewhere, FYI :

The precise cost of an Immerge rig hasn’t been revealed, but Rosenthal told The Verge that the price sits at 'multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars.'

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Ouch.

November 6, 2015 at 3:13AM, Edited November 6, 3:13AM

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Pierre Steytler
Technical Director
88

Will be a rental tool, like getting a Phantom Flex, helicopter hire, crane etc.

November 6, 2015 at 7:12AM, Edited November 6, 7:14AM

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Matt Carter
VFX Artist / Director / DP / Writer / Composer / Alexa Owner
461

Wait 15 years and buy an iPhone 20, it'll be built-in -with a share function for InstagramVR.

November 14, 2015 at 11:00PM

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The idea of this technology sound fantastic, I doubt it will actually show any proper results in the near future. This looks like one of those things that will take a long time to develop and perfect.

Other than that, I wish people would stop making these kind of " template corporate videos". There was a lot of talking going on and nothing was actually said.

November 6, 2015 at 3:41AM

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Daniel Falcon
Director, VFX artist
312

I thought it explained the technology quite well...

November 6, 2015 at 7:13AM

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Matt Carter
VFX Artist / Director / DP / Writer / Composer / Alexa Owner
461

that all sounds awesome. BUT thats just it.. they haven't shown us anything that it actually works yet. I'm sure this is a ways off. All in all tho its a crucial step into the VR field.

November 6, 2015 at 10:27AM

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Seth Evans
Editor
280

What is the excitement of VR? Honestly, what value does it bring to a story? And as a filmmaker, how does this not make you lazy? The whole point of storytelling is the act of choosing what the audience should experience and how those choices make up the story. It seems like technology people expecting art to keep up with invention rather than invention following art. It's like theater without the immediacy.

November 10, 2015 at 5:11PM

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Sami
9

Sounds like vapor-ware wrapped in a ton of weasel words to attract and keep investors. These guys said absolutely nothing. All marketing, no product.

November 12, 2015 at 9:13PM, Edited November 12, 9:14PM

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bobspez
Retired unix sys admin
120