Virtual Reality and the next age of storytelling

Space... The Final Frontier...

How Lytro is taking aim at the future of imaging...

To take a line from the future..., or is it the past??? Either way, capturing space is the next frontier in digital imaging, and the camera creators over at Lytro have been doing just that since their introduction of the second generation, Lytro Illum Light Field Camera a little over a year ago. The first generational Lytro was a proof of concept which created an interactive environment that enabled viewers to refocus low resolution photographs in post production. The Illum took it up several notches allowing artists to capture in 3D, with a printable resolution, along with the ability to create stunning animations which could be played as videos or interactively on the computer.

Being an artist isn’t about making money, it’s about pushing creative boundaries, and doing something that has never been done before. If there has ever been a time for photographers to explore new ideas, this is it.
— Charles Maring

We have had the privilege of using the Illum camera technology over the past year creating images on both paid and personal projects, and it's been an interesting journey. Considering ourselves both artists and technologists we love exploring new ways of creating stories and art so when Lytro asked if we were interested in working with the Illum, we jumped at the opportunity.

Creating with the Lytro Illum was always different from a traditional camera, and the more we use it the more it impacts the way we think about subjects, the space the subject resides in, the importance of composition, foregrounds, backgrounds, lighting, and more. In all honesty mastering the Lytro Illum makes you a better traditional photographer because making great images forces you to focus on more than just the subjects expression and lighting. Working with the Illum is like blending the thoughts of Einstein and Picasso together in an image. It is truly one part science, one part art. Now Lytro is setting the stage to make major leaps forward into the unknown.

This week Lytro took a new turn in a direction that goes beyond the still image, and beyond video as we know it. Let's take a glimpse, backwards, or... Is it forwards??? to the Star Trek we all grew up with. Do you recall their ability to step into a room and see earth virtually? Well, we are on the verge of witnessing this concept coming to life, and quite possibly much more. The new Lytro Immerge dives deep into virtual reality. However, this is far different from computer generated graphics. The Lytro Immerge is a camera that captures lighting, space, and video from many different directions. While we used the term virtual reality, what we are really looking at is an immersive experience that leans as far toward the reality side of the equation as it does the virtual side.

Check out the video above to see where Lytro is headed now. 

This is such an amazing time in imaging, and we are excited to explore the future as it unfolds. Interact with a few of our Lytro Illum images below. Click the pay button to view an animation, or tap around to interact with the images and refocus them.


Charles Maring is a photographer and filmmaker at Maring Visuals, and a co-host / creator of the Together In Style talk show.