The Science Behind VR: Light Fields for Virtual Reality

May 7, 2015 | Stuttgart, Germany

Speaker: Paul Debevec
Host: FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Transmedia

Today’s VR headsets track the user’s head to produce low-latency viewpoint shifts in the virtual environment to allow you to believe that you are really present in the scene.  Unfortunately, live action recordings of concerts, news events, and sports are recorded from fixed eye positions and cannot take advantage of providing this crucial cue for presence.  Even recording left-eye and right-eye panoramas for 3D stereoscopic VR fails to record motion parallax and misses the most compelling aspect of virtual reality which is otherwise easily achieved with game environment scenes.  Light Field photography may provide a solution by recording arrays of images from different perspectives in a way which allows a continuous range of viewpoints to be generated after recording, including viewpoints never before photographed.  This presentation will introduce the concept of light field capture and rendering, provide a history of its applications in computer graphics, and discuss the opportunities and challenges in using light field capture and rendering to record and play back live-action content with the ability to move your head around and see the appropriate shifts in perspective.