Lytro goes cinematic

The implosion (or explosion?) of Lytro continues and like everything to do with chaos theory remains unpredictable. At least the long-hinted-at Lytro Cinema camera seems now a reality and some information is available. Cool? Not so cool? Ultimately we’ll have to see, but I still can’t shake the feeling that there’s a certain measure of desperation involved and they quite don’t know what to do with their technology as I already said in my last post.

On an abstract geek level some of the stuff shown in the video is interesting, but in the end we are already at a point where words like “creative freedom and flexibility on set and in post-production” are just an euphemism. Movies are already so doctored up from lots of greenscreen work to color corrections to replacing entire shots with CG, it makes you wonder, in particular since this a lot of the time really hasn’t much to do with creative decisions, but is merely an attempt to maximize the commercial aspect or salvage bad scripts and poor production planning. On some level now everyone potentially shooting with these cameras “just in case we may need to change something later” is a scary thought.

Even the more mundane things like changing the DOF strike me as sort of odd. Photographers don’t like to hear it and as much as Stu Maschwitz may obsess about it in his blog posts, but I always felt that “shallow DOF” is hopelessly overrated. In fact I firmly believe that this is part of the consumer version Lytro‘s failure (in addition to the awfully low resolution) – people had no interest in this stuff or didn’t understand it.

On the good side, they seem to have learned their lesson and rectified one of the other big stinkers: The lack of integration with traditional creative apps. At least from the video it’s apparent that they have support for Nuke plug-ins and I would predict that perhaps on day they may even have a public API and CoDec similar to what RED did with their cameras, so others can use the format.

Anyway, for now probably most of my ranting/ pondering is irrelevant. At rental costs starting at 100k bucks and more, only big budget productions can afford it and whether or not they would be willing to afford it when some things can be achieved differently already is an open question. For sure this will be interesting to watch, with the most important question probably being whether they can take the technology to a point where it really becomes a new way of producing content, not just an excuse and crutch for “bad moviemaking”…

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