Ambitious Light Field Lab Aspires to Change Entertainment Forever
Light Field Lab is making the stuff of sci-fi films a reality.
Since securing $7m in seed funding last year, Light Field Lab has set their goals on bringing to life its vision of enabling holographic objects to appear as if they’re floating in space— without the need for any headsets or accessories.
Light Field Lab executive team consists of Jon Karafin (CEO), Brendan Bevensee (CTO), Ed Ibe (VP, Engineering), Jeff Barnes (EVP, Creative Development,) and John Dohm (EVP, Operations)— all of whom have serious pedigree in film and technology.
“Light Field Lab’s mission is to enable the holographic future. Real holograms. No headgear,” Karafin told Foundry Trends. “Over the past year, we have transitioned from concepts on paper to fully working prototypes, representing the building blocks for future holographic devices. When we scale from prototype to large-format experiences, we make the real and synthetic indistinguishable.”
In short, the company is developing holographic systems that will effectively show everyone looking at the display the true light field of the object— as if it was really there.
As background, Light field images represent the mathematical model that defines the vectors of ray propagation. A light field capture system samples these rays of light to record a four dimensional representation of a given environment.
Future vision concept art of special venue holographic display from Light Field Lab, Inc.
By capturing all of this light field information, it’s possible to move around inside a scene, creating a true sense of presence and parallax by re-rendering the stereoscopic images coupled to head tracking. This has been termed six degrees of freedom, or 6DOF, in many VR circles. However, if it were possible to display all rays of light contained within a determined volume— you would actually see the real objects.
Karafin continues, “You spend more time looking at displays than doing anything else throughout your lifetime— literally more time than sleeping, eating, and talking. However, we continue to visually communicate through a flat canvas, which is why decade after decade we have a deeply rooted psychological need to explore new immersive technologies that attempt to convey ideas and concepts the same way we experience the world around us. At Light Field Lab, we have a vision to seamlessly merge the real and synthetic world by enabling every device to be holographic.”
Light Field Lab’s technology could revolutionize film and entertainment, especially within experiential environments like cinemas and other special venue experiences. In theory, a viewer sitting to the left of a screen would see a slightly different image to one sitting to the right— true to how we see objects in real life.
“Other immersive displays emulate, not recreate, the world around us,” said Barnes. “We believe that holographic technologies will have a greater impact on the industry than the transition from still images to full color motion picture.”
Future vision concept art of holographic industrial tabletop display from Light Field Lab, Inc.
But, given it could be such a huge leap for the industry, how far away are we from actually seeing such technology in studios and in cinemas? Karafin and Barnes didn’t give too much away, but indicated Light Field Lab has already begun supporting third-party software.
“We have started integrating the light field processing engine into third-party applications, including use with Nuke, Unity, Unreal, and a number of other software packages. We recently announced a partnership with OTOY providing support for numerous additional software applications,” says Barnes. “Our goal is to enable content creators to produce compelling experiences leveraging familiar workflows.”
“We have ambitious goals, and look forward to working with Foundry and the entire industry to help make the transition from traditional display to holographic experiences happen as fast as possible.”