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OTOY Unveils Holographic Video Pipeline

Cloud graphics company unveils a holographic video pipeline for content creators, including the world’s first portable 360 holographic capture system and a cloud-based pipeline for creating and deploying holographic media to virtual reality and, in 2015, holographic light field displays.

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Cloud graphics company OTOY Inc. has unveiled a holographic video pipeline for content creators, including the world’s first portable 360 holographic capture system and a cloud-based pipeline for creating and deploying holographic media to virtual reality and, in 2015, holographic light field displays. The pipeline enables holographic captures of real world people, objects, and environments, and one-click publishing of interactive holographic videos which are viewable on mobile devices and virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift. Forthcoming next-generation light field displays being developed by OTOY will bring commercial freestanding volumetric holographic displays to market in 2015.

Holographic video, or holographic light field rendering as it’s technically known, produces stunningly realistic images that can be looked at from any vantage point, as seen in a demonstration OTOY released today. Each frame of video accurately simulates every ray of light in a given scene or environment and every interaction that each light ray has with the surfaces and materials therein. Every reflection, refraction, and absorption of that field of light is modelled as it would be in the real world. The same caliber of incredibly accurate rendering is used in the special effects work of major motion pictures, typically taking hours if not days to render out one extremely polished and realistic frame for use in a movie. OTOY demonstrated the same massive computational complexity delivered in hundredths of a second on the screen of one of the least powerful devices we use daily: a smartphone. The result is a video with true-to-life image quality that can be navigated and explored from any angle, otherwise known as holographic video.

OTOY has developed an end-to-end pipeline for both offline holographic video files and for live streaming holographic videos and is currently seeding tools to ecosystem partners including media and entertainment companies, artists and animators, and hardware and software partners. OTOY plans further demonstrations of holographic video at the annual international conference on computer graphics, SIGGRAPH 2014 (booth 1447) in Vancouver, Canada, and will share more details regarding holographic video development tools and its content pipeline at the show this week.

“OTOY’s holographic video technology is part of the future of media and entertainment,” said Ari Emanuel, Co-CEO, William Morris Endeavor. “Studios have been using OTOY’s capture technology for years to produce exceptional special effects. Now studios can harness the same spectacular content for all new experiences and lines of revenue, letting audiences be a part of the action, explore sets, or go behind the scenes with the same assets they’ve already invested in.”

“Holographic entertainment has been a fantasy for many ever since they caught their first glimpse of the Holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s debut almost thirty years ago,” said Rod Roddenberry, CEO, Roddenberry Entertainment. “One of the reasons I invested in OTOY was to see that dream become a reality. While holographic displays of the kind we imagined aren’t here quite yet, virtual reality headsets give us an incredible opportunity to bring the Holodeck to life in a slightly different way. What Jules and the team at OTOY have built is essentially the software of the Holodeck: the media format that will let everyone experience an immersive, photorealistic world the way we’ve always hoped to.”

“For as long as I can remember I’ve dreamt of experiencing the Holodeck, of having a way to walk through life-like virtual worlds that seemingly transport us to anywhere we’d like to be. OTOY was created in part to realize that dream, and today we’ve taken a major step toward it with holographic video,” said Jules Urbach, Founder and CEO, OTOY. “OTOY’s breakthroughs in compression and rendering have dramatically reduced the barriers to holographic video, making it a viable media format that gives content creators everywhere a simple, cost-effective way to bring high quality, interactive 3D content to multiple platforms for the world to enjoy.”

How holographic video works

  • OTOY’s holographic video was demonstrated using just one frame contained in an .ORBX file, the powerful 3D interchange file format OTOY announced in March. For each frame, a volume is projected that contains the rendered scene. OTOY used a cube in the video released today. The cube can be viewed from any angle, as if looking into a window, and it’s by stringing frames together that a fully immersive and navigable environment is delivered.
  • Holographic videos can be viewed the same way that traditional videos are: as offline files or streamed online. Offline holographic video files are contained in the .ORBX format and viewed through an ORBX player, while live streamed holographic videos are viewed through any HTML5-capable browser. For larger, more detailed scenes, processing is done in the cloud using breakthroughs in local rendering and compression to deliver an interactive experience to a user’s device.
  • Virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift are expected to be the first way that people can experience holographic video, though content can easily be adapted to other devices. Applications where greater immersion, presence or interactivity are desired, such as gaming, film, education, attractions, simulations, and retail are most suitable.

Bringing holographic video to life: OTOY’s holographic video pipeline

OTOY’s end-to-end pipeline brings together several technologies for the production and publishing of holographic videos:

  • Capture: Using OTOY’s LightStage, a set of Academy Award-winning technologies that allow for the capture of people, objects, or environments, content creators can create “digital doubles” that are practically identical to the original in every way. OTOY’s LightStage technology has been used in the development of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters including Gravity and The Avengers among others.
  • Create: OctaneRender, OTOY’s suite of advanced 3D rendering software for workstations and the cloud, allows for the fast, efficient creation and editing of incredibly realistic 3D scenes with support for 15 popular 3D modelling applications. Brigade, allows for those same photorealistic 3D scenes to be explored in real-time over the cloud.
  • Publish: Both OctaneRender software and Brigade will support exporting to holographic video to enable hundreds of thousands of users to easily share and create their own holographic media using .ORBX, a versatile interchange file format that works across the pipeline. Holographic video is the capstone format supported by .ORBX, with plans for .ORBX to be the first file format and codec to support the Rec. 2020 video standard on current hardware, delivering 4K (3840×2160) and 8K (7680×4320) video resolution, or 16 times more picture information than HD. ORBX also supports next-generation content formats including HDR, 32K and now holographic video.

For more details on holographic videos, including additional demos and information on our development tools and content pipeline, visit OTOY at SIGGRAPH 2014, August 12-14, booth 1447 in the Vancouver Convention Center, or contact OTOY (link sends e-mail) to arrange a meeting.

Source: OTOY Inc.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.