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Graphics Input Devices Technology

Light Field Photography Is the New Path To 3-D 79

waderoush writes "In November, Lytro, the maker of the first light field camera for consumers, upgraded its viewer software to enable a feature called 'Perspective Shift.' In addition to refocusing pictures after they've been taken, Lytro audiences can now pivot between different virtual points of view, within a narrow baseline. This 3-D capability was baked into Lytro's technology from the start: 'The light field itself is inherently multidimensional [and] the 2-D refocusable picture that we launched with was just one way to represent that,' says Eric Cheng, Lytro's director of photography. But while Perspective Shift is currently little more than a novelty, the possibilities for future 3-D imaging are startling, especially as Lytro develops future devices with larger sensors — and therefore larger baselines, allowing more dramatic 3-D effects. Cheng says the company is already exploring future versions of its viewer software that would work on 3-D televisions. 'We are moving the power of photography from optics to computation,' he says. 'So when the public really demands 3-D content, we will be ready for it.'"
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Light Field Photography Is the New Path To 3-D

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  • by levork ( 160540 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @08:47PM (#42767623) Homepage

    Wow, TFA is really glossing over an inherent limitation:

    the "shiftability" of a Lytro image is a function of the width of the image sensor

    If the goal of this is to produce useful stereo content that replicates the parallax seen by humans, then the image sensor needs to be at least as big as the average distance between two human pupils. That's roughly six centimeters. The Lytro's sensor is around six millimeters. Somehow I doubt they're going to increase their form factor by ten times in each dimension, and since the point of a Lytro is to avoid fancy lenses they can't bend the light path to compensate.

  • by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthonymc l i n . c om> on Friday February 01, 2013 @09:42PM (#42768033) Homepage

    But look at the background through the bubbles. The background behind the bubbles doesn't change when you change the psuedo-POV

    Look again. Pay attention to the bubble that masks the rear stair column. As you shift the image, the placement of the column within the bubble shifts (the amount of plant displayed varies).

    This is beyond stereoscopy, and is a direct result of how they are capturing images. Stereoscopy only works on a single axis of view. This works on multiple axis.

    The reason why it looks "fake" to you, is because none of this is done by the camera itself. Everything is done by running computations on the captured image. And as a result, the only way to display it is via an interactive container like Flash. The computations aren't done in realtime, so you only get whatever focus planes the algorithm (or artist) picked out when running the processing. Presumably, you could reprocess for different focal depth points.

  • Re:Bought a Lytro (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @10:58PM (#42768491)

    You call yourself interested in technology?

    This is awesome. It's a completely different way of capturing photos. And from your basement you get angry and bitter and twisted. You are a piece of shit.

  • by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Friday February 01, 2013 @11:38PM (#42768699) Homepage

    There was an article earlier about Tensor Displays (slashdot link) [], (MIT link) [], which used a sandwich of three high-refresh-rate LCD screens to simulate a light field by using the screens to selectively block light in multiple directions.

  • by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @12:48AM (#42769055)

    Typical IPD is 54-68mm. IMAX film stock is 70mm wide. This is not an insurmountable problem, at least for professional use.

    Imagine a 70mm lightfield motion picture camera. Other than the fact that the data throughput would be positively insane, the requirements for physical size would be substantially less than a current IMAX camera.

    I suspect that you can actually get away with less than the typical IPD and still produce a convincing effect. In which case, you can buy the required sensor today; you can get 48mm wide medium format digital sensors, and there's nothing special about the sensor in the Lytro. It's the array of microlenses and software that make it special. So it would be possible today to build a Lytro motion picture camera with a 48mm digital sensor, and I suspect that 48mm is close enough to the typical IPD to produce a convincing effect. Such sensors also have the resolution to make lightfield work for a motion picture (50 MP models turned in up the first page of results on B&H), and the cameras themselves are smaller than most motion picture cameras (or even ENG cameras)...

    I suspect that the primary problem would be, again, the data throughput. Uncompressed 24fps 50 megapixel 36-bit images, those would pump out 41 gigabits per second... Compression would be pretty much required. If we use redcode as a benchmark (because apparently motion picture productions are happy with the quality of the compression enough to use it), where the minimum camera-supported compression ratio (on the RED ONE) is 8:1 and the highest is 12:1... This gives us about 5.1 Gbps and 3.4 Gbps... Heck, that's easy to handle. Existing communications tech can handle that, you could have a single 10 Gbps ethernet cable running out the back of your camera to an on-site storage box, and storing that sort of data rates isn't hard. Even a 4TB on-camera SSD module could store 156 minutes of footage... and handle those kinds of write speeds.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers