In the same way the Lytro camera allows photographers to tweak the focus of their shots in post-production, this multi-camera array, developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer institute, allows directors to adjust the depth of field, the aperture, and even the camera angle of a given shot after it’s been captured. The phrase ‘fix it in post’ now has a whole new dimension.
The array features 16 cameras in total, placed in a four-by-four grid that measures barely a foot on each side — so it’s small enough to be used on set without hindering current production workflows. The multiple views of each scene allow a custom piece of software to calculate the depth information for every single pixel being captured and recorded by the cameras — and its this data that’s vital to this system’s impressive capabilities.
Knowing where in a scene each pixel was captured in 3D space allows the software to then calculate and produce artificial in-between frames and camera angles. So if a director or editor isn’t completely happy with what was captured on set, they can tweak and adjust it in post until it’s perfect. The same goes for the depth of field of a shot; like with the Lytro it can be adjusted afterwards to change the focus of a scene.
There’s no word on if or when the software will be developed to the point where it’s made available to the public, but the researchers are claiming they’re in the process of perfecting the interface so it can be used as an effective post-production tool, hopefully one day empowering the Spielbergs of tomorrow. [Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft]