Why We Believe in Volumetric Video

By Charles Le Pere, Director of Program Management

Almost every AR app that’s released today, relies solely on computer generated animations or graphics to “augment” your environment with something or someone that’s not there—like a face filter, a brand logo or a cartoon.  

Today, most of these objects are computer generated images. And while that proves to be effective for objects, it doesn’t work so well with people. That’s why we believe that replacing CGI renderings of humans with actual volumetric videos of them will mark a giant step forward in the development of next generation content experiences. We believe volumetric video will enable greater immersion, personalization and engagement that previously hasn’t been possible.

So what exactly is volumetric video? For those of you looking for something a bit more digestible than a very (very) long Wikipedia page let me lay it out.

Simply put, volumetric video is the capture of people or objects in 3D space over time allowing you to see the person from any angle and watch them move over time. Today, Jaunt uses a solution that we call XR Cast, which consists of eight video and depth-sensing cameras placed in a circle around a subject to capture people from all sides.

Generally speaking, there are two ways to view volumetric video: in 2D and in 3D.

Viewing a volumetric video in 2D, such as on a computer or TV monitor is analogous to looking at someone through a keyhole, where the perspective you get is fixed by the physical location of the keyhole. You may be able to see the person in the room, but only from one angle limiting your ability to understand who they are and what they are doing. Viewing a volumetric capture in 3D (such as with an AR-enabled mobile phone) is like opening that door and walking into the room. Now, you can see that person from whatever perspective you want simply by walking around the room.

We fundamentally believe that volumetric video is tailor-made for augmented reality.  For instance, last week we captured a dancer on our volumetric capture stage. Take a look at her performance in volumetric video in our web viewer, here and embedded below. Click and drag to pan around the dancer. Since we recorded her from every angle, she wasn’t limited to perform “facing an audience”.  Using an AR-enabled app on an iPhone, we anchored the capture on the surface of a table. By walking around the table we were able to view the performance from any angle dynamically as the performance played back.

Tip: drag to rotate, pinch to zoom.

With most entertainment, viewers are necessarily separated from content by screens and devices. But viewing volumetric content in AR creates intimate experiences that makes you feel like they’re really in the same room as you.  At Jaunt, we believe that more and more, viewers crave these intimate, engaging experiences that build authentic connections between the viewer and the subject. So stay tuned for more volumetric captures.

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