This report discusses the impact of light field and volumetric capture technologies on the development of the virtual reality (VR) market. Light field and volumetric capture span a relatively wide breadth of applications, however, these technologies offer more natural and immersive experiences. While components like 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DOF) video require more resources to bring to market, there are applications like FX where cost savings and efficiencies can be realized, as well. Both light field and volumetric capture have been deployed in today’s markets, but these technologies will play a larger role in the coming years beyond the five-year forecasting window in particular. Large file sizes and limited hardware (e.g., 6DOF-ready mobile HMDs) push 6DOF video (live capture) further out on the time horizon, but the combination of volumetric captured assets with rendered environments creates more near-term applications for both VR and mixed reality.
Numerous companies are laying the foundation for light field (e.g., Lytro, Raytrix, OTOY) and volumetric capture, with the latter currently seeing more activity and players (e.g., HypeVR, Facebook, OZO/Nokia, Intel, 8i, Microsoft, Adobe, The Foundry, Technicolor, etc.). The workflows and filming techniques are still very early days with more experimentation and trials to come, but the market is moving in the right direction. Gaming and 3 Degrees of Freedom (3DOF) 360° video still receives the bulk of the attention today (in large part targeting today’s HMD devices), but as subsequent generations of HMDs come to market the evolutionary changes they bring will increasingly make compelling arguments for similar advancements in content. Light field and volumetric capture are well positioned to help bring this higher level of immersion to fruition.