Lytro who only just recently announced they are no longer going to focus on consumer cameras, has just announced the Lytro Cinema Camera. According to the company, it is highest resolution video sensor ever designed, 755 RAW megapixels at up to 300 FPS. To put this in perspective, most digital cinema cameras are only capable of capturing between 8 to 12 megapixels. Forget 4k or even 8K, 755MP is around 40K!
The company is touting the new camera as the world’s first Light Field solution for film and television. The capture system enables the complete virtualization of the live action camera, and transforms creative camera controls from fixed on set decisions to a computational post-production processes. Lytro says the new camera can now capture historically impossible shots.
Lytro Cinema comprises a camera, 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-production workflows, working in tandem with popular industry standard tools.
The camera is certainly not aimed at the every day user, and has been specifically designed for cutting edge visual effects (VFX). Lytro Cinema represents a complete paradigm shift in the integration of live action footage and computer generated (CG) visual effects. The dataset captured by the system produces a Light Field master that can be rendered in any format in post-production and enables a whole range of creative possibilities that have never before existed.
“We are in the early innings of a generational shift from a legacy 2D video world to a 3D volumetric Light Field world,” said Jason Rosenthal, CEO of Lytro. “Lytro Cinema represents an important step in that evolution. We are excited to help usher in a new era of cinema technology that allows for a broader creative palette than has ever existed before.”
“Lytro Cinema defies traditional physics of on-set capture allowing filmmakers to capture shots that have been impossible up until now,” said Jon Karafin, Head of Light Field Video at Lytro. “Because of the rich data set and depth information, we’re able to virtualize creative camera controls, meaning that decisions that have traditionally been made on set, like focus position and depth of field, can now be made computationally. We’re on the cutting edge of what’s possible in film production.”
With Lytro Cinema, every frame of a live action scene becomes a 3D model: every pixel has color and directional and depth properties bringing the control and creative flexibility of computer generated VFX to real world capture. The system opens up new creative avenues for the integration of live action footage and visual effects with capabilities like Light Field Camera Tracking and Lytro Depth Screen. This technology means you no longer need to use a green screen. Instead of doing the usual chroma keying, the system uses the vast amount of depth information that will allow VFX easily composite in CGI or to swap out scene elements.
For big scale productions Lytro Cinema will allow a lot more freedom when composing scenes and shots. Some of the adjustments that can be easily altered in post production include deciding where and what you want to be in focus, depth-of-field, and image perspective. Lytro also claims that by capturing at 300 fps, they can take that captured material and then change the shutter angles in post-production. This removes the age old problem of having to live with high shutter speed angles when shooting at high frame rates. Now you can effectively choose how much or how little motion blur you want, without having to be confined to the decision you made at capture.
“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.”
The highest resolution video sensor ever designed, 755 RAW megapixels at up to 300 FPS
Up to 16 stops of dynamic range and wide color gamut
Integrated high resolution active scanning
By capturing the entire high resolution Light Field, Lytro Cinema is the first system able to produce a Light Field Master. The richest dataset in the history of the medium, 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.
“Life” the first short produced with Lytro Cinema in association with The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) and will premiere at NAB. “Life” was directed by Academy Award winner Robert Stromberg, Chief Creative Officer at VRC and shot by David Stump, Chief Imaging Scientist at VRC.
The Lytro Cinema Camera is pushing the boundaries of current technology, but it does give us a glimpse of what is possible in the near future. Who knows, this same type of technology could be available in a iPhone in the next 5 to 10 years.
Lytro Cinema will be available for production in Q3 2016 to exclusive partners on a subscription basis. For more information on Lytro Cinema, visit www.lytro.com/cinema.