Playing with light

Lytro is releasing a new product that leverages its signature light field technology to make the lives of those working in the television and film industries much easier.


Dubbed the Lytro Cinema, the camera promises some staggering specs: a 755 RAW megapixel 40K resolution, 300 FPS, the ability to take in as much as 400 gigabytes per second of data.

For filmmakers, this means Cinema can allow for post-production decisions that were previously impossible. Changing the depth of field, focus position, shutter speed or dynamic range can now take place after the scene has been recorded, making sure that shots are always perfectly focused.

Also, the light field technology creates something called a "depth screen", which allows for green screen magic with out the green screen. Basically, the camera captures the scene up to a certain distance, and leaves the rest of the world transparent and ready for post-production editing.

Light field magic

The light field concept that Lytro has been using is something else. In essence, it is an "upgrade" to the way our eyes and optical devices take in light. Our eyes take in some of the light rays that bounce off the surface of the object we are looking at. The fact that we have two eyes affords us depth perception and the ability to see both near and far on command.

But a light field setup allows light to be captured from multiple vantage points—left to right, top to bottom, and all points in-between. Light Field systems are created from an array of cameras, each seeing the scene from a different vantage point. Every vantage point in the array is then combined to produce Light Field images.

This is not Lytro's first time using light field technology in a camera—the company has previously developed both a handheld camera in the Lytro ILLUM and a camera made for making VR content, called the Lytro Immerge.

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