Remember in high school science class learning about measuring volume? Volumetric video is a lot like that. Volume is the „quantification of the three-dimensional space a substance occupies.“ When we measure the volume of a container, for instance, we’re measuring how much liquid it can hold.
Volumetric video records video in 3D, capturing the object or space three-dimensionally in real-time. The volumetrically captured object, environment, and living beings can be transferred to the web, mobile, or virtual worlds to be viewed naturally in 3D.
Understanding The Difference Between Volumetric Video & 360-Degree Video
A 360-degree video is recorded by cameras that capture 360 degrees. A person watching a 360-degree video can look in all three hundred and sixty degrees, but they don’t have any depth to the image. A 360-degree video is like being in a snow globe where volumetric video has depth and space. That’s not to say that in the future 360-degree video won’t be volumetric. That’s coming.
Since volumetric video records a person, for instance, in their actual dimensions and shape, they can be viewed from each of those angles. In a volumetric captured video, people can „be the director“ looking and moving anywhere in the video. Volumetric video gives the user an even clearer sense of presence.
In one volumetric video capture, a woman was able to step back into her body and „hold“ her daughter as a baby.
In order to capture volumetric video, multiple cameras are trained on the object or environment to be recorded. After the initial video capture, the scene is processed to produce a set of 3D models arranged in a sequence. Lastly, the meshes are unwrapped, textures are generated, then the whole thing is compressed into a data file that is ready for viewing.
What the user experiences when viewing this capture in a VR headset or through augmented reality glasses, is the 3D capture recreated as a digital object, where they can walk around, look at all angles, and even step in the shoes of the person recorded.
Volumetric Video & The Enterprise
On the surface, volumetric video has more often than not been used to create music videos or movies, but the technology has value far beyond entertainment.
“Volcap video solves a significant content challenge for our clients, especially in Sports and Entertainment, who want to feature their athletes and actors in Augmented Reality,” said Jason Yim, CEO and Executive Creative Director of Trigger. “In the past, we were limited to integrating 2D video or 2D green screen footage into the AR experience. Or we could 3D model the talent from scratch, which was prohibitive from a time, budget and likeness approval standpoint, but now with volumetric video, fans can place the talent in their own environment in a three-dimensionally accurate and more importantly, magical way.”
Capture a person once and that video can be used in many different ways. The person can be scaled, duplicated, and even transformed since they are a digital capture of their real selves. There are many ways volumetric video will be used in the enterprise.
„We are excited to explore the capabilities of learning in 3D with volumetric video. Not only can you bring living experts directly into every classroom, living room, or sports field, but on the corporate side, staff can now have a one-on-one experience with their CEO’s and leadership, regardless of the company’s size,“ added Yim.
This capability has endless opportunities for the enterprise. These include employee training, education, customer service, corporate communications, product inspection, marketing, advertising, brand recognition, and beyond. The list is endless. In terms of training alone, volumetric video gives companies the power tribal knowledge from employees, use real-life examples of procedures gone right or wrong, or what teams look like while working on a project.
„We’ve learned how brain engaged employees are when trained by content captured volumetrically, explains Tim Zenk of volumetric studio, Avatar Dimension. „It results in more knowledgeable employees because they learn from every angle. Enterprises have reported that using this technology sees enormous efficiency gains while increasing the quality of training skills learned.“
A Volumetric Future
Volumetric video is the next evolution in recording video. Positional tracking, presence, and immersion are all part of the converge of spatial computing and virtual and augmented reality. 4D Views, a volumetric video capture company, says „volumetric video will focus your audience on your message by providing unparalleled visual and emotional realism of the filmed actors.“ In turn, increasing immersion and increasing natural awareness of the experience.
Volumetric will be an important part of the evolution of the metaverse, mirroworld, spatial internet, or whatever term you prefer. It is all about capturing our reality in digital form and from every angle. The future is, in part, volumetric.