Jaunt VR, the cinematic VR company, has today announced its 5th generation of cinematic VR cameras, codenamed ‘NEO’, built using Light Field technology.

Jaunt has sure been busy recently. The company recently announced that it had become a ‘preferred partner’ with Google on cinematic VR content on the search giant’s Cardboard VR platform, giving the company’s profile a boost in the space. Now, Jaunt VR have announced its 5th generation VR camera technology which it claims is “…the culmination of two and a half years of extensive research and development, prototyping and field testing.”

Industrial Design by LUNAR.

Built around light field camera technology, which captures both the direction and intensity of light, the NEO camera should allow the cinematic VR specialists to film 360 degree 3D footage that can be rendered to allow some degree of parallax when viewed inside a VR headset. That is, you’ll not only be able to glance up, down, left and right around a scene, you should also be able to ‘dodge’ left and right to glance around and behind objects, to an extent. The technology means an extra level of immersion for VR video content and may also potentially alleviate motion sickness as imagery can be rendered to obey lateral head movements.

“NEO”. The 5th generation of camera systems created by Jaunt, “NEO” has been designed and the culmination of two and a half years of extensive research and development, prototyping and field testing. Elevating not only the capture and quality of VR content, “NEO’s” stunning, sleek industrial design represents the technological step forward this camera system brings to the VR landscape.

It’s interesting to hear Jaunt pitch this latest generation of camera technology as “professional-grade”, as it seems to indicate that the company viewed previous technology prior to NEO as R&D steps to a capture system it was truly happy with. Although, with no technical specifications to go on, it’s not entirely clear precisely what NEO means for prospective content creators. Jaunt states that the focus for this latest generation is to ease the technical process of capturing and let those talented artists concentrate on what matters, creating compelling VR content.

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Industrial Design by LUNAR.

NEO‘s high level features announced thus far:

  • High quality, high resolution, full 360° capture
  • Custom optics specifically designed for 3D light-field capture
  • Large format sensors with superior low-light performance
  • High dynamic range (HDR) imaging
  • Fully synchronized global shutter sensor array
  • Time-lapse and high frame-rate capture
  • Compact and weatherproof form factor
  • Stunning 360 degree industrial design by LUNAR
  • Extensive tool set for configuration, rendering, and asset management

With luck we’ll learn more about the system’s capabilities, and more importantly what content captured using it looks like, very soon. It’s not yet clear how the company intends to deliver content created using NEO; rendering high resolution light field content is somewhat intensive. It’s also not quite clear how NEO’s Light Field content plays with Google’s ‘Jump’ 360 VR video pipeline, as announced at Google I/O recently.

Nevertheless, watching this space evolve as rapidly as it is brings new hope that artefact free cinematic VR video content, sans stitching glitches etc., may well be just around the corner.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • stormy3000

    This really does sound potentially fantastic for films of the future… I’ve been intrigued by the Lytro cameras and the idea of pairing that technology 360º and VR seems like an amazing combination.

  • EdZ

    “light field camera technology, which captures both the direction and intensity of light”
    Any camera captures the direction and intensity of light. The major feature of a light-field capture system is it essentially captures the DIRECTION if light passing through a surface. A normal camera will capture ‘how much light is falling onto this area’, a lightfield camera will capture’ how much light is falling onto this area from each direction’.

    Looking at the lens layout, this does not appear to be an effective light-field camera. The majority of the lenses are all arranged in one plane, with only 4 off-axis cameras per side. It’s great for producing panoramic stereograms, but has a very low information density for anything out-of-plane. This is an issue if you ever roll or move your head. The physical volume enclosed by the lenses also describes the area within which the viewer can view the lightfield from within, and this device doe snot appear to be particularly large (unless that is a very big record button).

    This appears to be a stereo panoramic camera with some extra cameras for dome stitching, rather than the sort of 360° lightfield camera that would allow free head movement and rotation within the capture volume.

    • Paul James

      Perhaps “captures directional information about light” would have been better wording, but it is essentially what I meant. I’d argue a camera sensor captures all light that hits, regardless of direction – in fact is direction not entirely unimportant? The different being a spatial capture of light rather than a sort of linear snapshot.

      I’m no light field expert certainly though, so thanks for the feedback.