What Is Volumetric Capture and How Does It Work?

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What Is Volumetric Capture and How Does It Work?

Have you ever heard of volumetric capture? It is used to build “holograms” and other three-dimensional models for realistic augmented and virtual reality applications, as well as desktop applications. While some of these may seem far-fetched, most mobile phones can already run holographic AR experiences, making motion capture more popular in entertainment and advertising.

In this section, we’ll discuss what volumetric capture is, how it varies from other types of picture generation, and how it’s utilized.

What Is Volumetric Capture?

“Volumetric capture” (also known as “volumetric video”) is the process of capturing a real location, item, person, or event in such a manner that it seems to occupy three-dimensional space. This permits a viewer to spin or move around the final experience in the instance of a recording of an item or person. Volumetric capture may not seem all that unique if you’ve read about existing spatial recording and display solutions.

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For example, light field photography can capture a scene in a way that appears to have depth, but a user can’t navigate through the scene in a convincing way. LiDAR and ToF (Time of Flight) sensors on devices like mobile phones can both create spatial models from objects and scenes that can be navigated in three dimensions. However, unlike those systems, volumetric capture can create spatial models of moving objects and people in real-time.

But how?

How Does Volumetric Capture Work?

With LiDAR and ToF, the recorder can create a volumetric capture of a stationary scene or object by moving around that scene or object and essentially capturing lots of two-dimensional data from a lot of different angles. Think of it as like taking one photograph of each side of a cube and then gluing the photos together into a cube shape. You now have a spatial model created from two-dimensional representations of the real thing.

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Volumetric capture works by using a whole bunch of cameras from a whole bunch of different angles that are all filming at the same time. Then, computer algorithms stitch the views from these angles together to create volumetric images. Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studio, one of the biggest players in volumetric capture, calls these “holograms.” But, who would need a hologram, and what for?

What Is Volumetric Capture Used For?

Volumetric capture is currently primarily used in advertising and entertainment. In advertising, holograms give consumers access to information, products, and spokespeople in immersive brand engagement opportunities that they can experience from anywhere.

Similarly, volumetric capture is increasingly being used in entertainment for things like remote concerts. Performers can do a live performance just like they normally would and have their holograms broadcast to fans around the world in an experience that is more immersive than watching or listening to a concert live on a platform like YouTube.

Some use cases utilize a whole studio, like those located around the world through Microsoft’s initiative. However, they aren’t the only name in the game. TetaVi deploys portable volumetric capture rigs that can be deployed “on location.”

The Future of Volumetric Capture

Like most mixed reality applications and technologies, volumetric capture has a lot of potential that hasn’t yet been realized. However, as the technology becomes smaller, easier to use, and more affordable, there are a lot of uses that could materialize in the near future.

For example, TetaVi’s volumetric capture system consists of four depth cameras and eight RGB cameras. Imagine if it were as easy and inexpensive to install these in a space as it is to install microphones. Concerts, plays, meetings, and social events could all be volumetrically captured and broadcast to larger audiences or preserved for future historians.

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Furthermore, several use cases, such as gaming and social networking apps, have already shown significant growth potential. Volumetric capture is mostly used in gaming to provide material for virtual reality experiences that enable the user to walk around a volumetric capture of an actual person, item, or place in a digitally constructed or recreated world.

Have You Experienced Volumetric Capture?

Right now, the odds of you experiencing or even making a volumetric capture are minimal. However, you are quite likely to do so in the future. Volumetric capture isn’t for everyone yet, but there’s nothing wrong with learning something new.

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