Vimeo’s holographic video channel

Vimeo’s holographic video channel

In collaboration with Vimeo Creator labs, we’re bringing you the world’s first holographic video channel.

First a little background for those of you just tuning in: I’m part of Looking Glass Factory, a team of a couple dozen engineers, game designers, inventors, and general-purpose-3D-nerds in Brooklyn and Hong Kong that makes the Looking Glass, the world’s first desktop holographic display for 3D creators. In our vision of the future, there’s no VR or AR headgear required.

Since we announced the Looking Glass this summer, the outpouring of holographic love from 3D creators everywhere has been incredible. Animated sloths created using iPhone’s ARKit, MRI explorations, lightfield photo and video captures, the world’s first voxel-based fantasy game console, and drone photogrammetry have started to pop-up in Looking Glasses around the world. Nearly $1MM of these first-generation holographic displays were purchased in the first month, completely blowing away our initial expectations by 20-fold.

But there’s been something missing in the Looking Glass —a holographic video channel. That’s why I’m so excited to share our collaboration with Vimeo’s Creator Labs. Creator Labs is Vimeo’s team dedicated to innovation and the future of storytelling. They are a group of videomakers and creative technologists who explore emerging mediums and experimental video technologies that empower creators to push the boundaries of their craft.

Weeks after our launch this summer, we hosted Casey Pugh and Or Fleisher— leads at Creator Labs — at our lab in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Casey took back an early Looking Glass prototype to Vimeo for some experiments.

A couple weeks after that visit, I saw an email pop up in my inbox:

“…we wanted to share a Vimeo app [for the Looking Glass] with you to see what you and your team think. …[it] pulls in recorded Looking Glass quilts from a curated Vimeo Channel. It’d be great to fill this channel up with hours and hours of content.” — Casey

So I plugged in a Looking Glass and clicked the app. Suddenly, glowing back at me was the world’s first holographic video channel.

“Moose”, the very first holographic dog to be streamed from Vimeo. (Moose was captured thanks to the team at DepthKit working with the Vimeo folks)

This is a remarkable achievement and I believe will go down as a significant landmark in the evolution of storytelling and media. Roverled the world into the era of 2D movies in 1905, and I think Moose is doing that for holographic video.

The reason has less to do with the technical details that make this possible and more about the critical importance of simplicity in new platforms. Our goal in Looking Glass Factory is always to make the technology behind a magic trick like the hologram entirely disappear. We strive to do this both in the hardware we make and the software tools and apps we develop. That’s why I’m so thrilled about this app. It takes a complex universe of holographic/lightfield/volumetric video content — how do you view it?! what’s the aspect ratio?! Is it volumetric or lightfield?! Wait you didn’t download the drivers? — and makes that simple. So that all you’re left with glowing back at you is a feed of living dioramas that seems all at once impossible and like it’s always been around.

“Hip Hip Hippo!”

With a click of the Vimeo app, a flow of holographic videos from around the world starts streaming into your Looking Glass. Creators will be able to use this app to record, capture, and share Looking Glass holographic holograms of their own (using the Vimeo Unity plugin together with the Looking Glass Unity SDK) in a video format we call “Quilts” — generating either a 32 or 45 views of a three-dimensional scene captured as a video sequence.

The raw format of 9x5 holographic video that’s streamed down from Vimeo to a Looking Glass

No drivers to install. No wires or headsets to crawl through and focus. No weird 3D UI to navigate. Those holographic videos are streamed from a curated Vimeo channel straight into a Looking Glass display — it’s really that easy.

If you can’t tell from my effusiveness, I think the potential here is bigger than it might at first appear. While this first generation Looking Glass is focused on 3D creators and isn’t a general consumer device, I think this Vimeo app will get us closer to the sharing of holographic experiences that anyone can eventually be a part of. Holographic cats boxing and Pixar volumetric videos shorts are hopefully not too far away.

This is still a work in progress, particularly on the sharing and documentation side of things. But we expect it will be a featured application in the App Library we’ll be sending to everyone who gets a Looking Glass in December. So volumetric videographers, lovers of the depth, and hologram hackers around the world…get ready to crank your Looking Glasses to 11, holographic videos are coming your way thanks to Vimeo.

Oh yeah — and if you’d like to get your own holographic/lightfield/volumetric/3D work into the feed, check out this handy How to Record a Hologram guide from the fine folks at Vimeo!

p.s. Thanks³ to the Casey, Or, and the whole Vimeo team. Holographic BFFs.

(And yes, that is Casey’s face exploding — also available for streaming into a holographic display near you)

p.p.s. you can head on over to our website if you want to get your handson a Looking Glass!

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