How to capture light field photos


In this guide we'll walk you through how to take light field photos on the Looking Glass Lightfield Photo Rail

Required software


1. Powering on your camera rail

Before you can begin taking your light field photos you'll need to supply power to your camera rail. There are a few ways you can do this, including using the provided wall adapter, a laptop/PC, or a portable power bank. Portable Power banks are great for outdoor shoots or when you want to travel with your rail to capture light fields on location.

When you first turn your light field photo rail on the rail will become to perform the "home" process. This means it will move back and forth along the rail once to determine where the edges are. It's important to make sure there are no obstructions and that the rail is setup so it is level.

2. Setting the speed

The Light Field Photo Rail has three different speeds by default.

• Fast 11 sec (3 LED)- this will be the best choice for most captures

• Medium (2 LED) 16 sec

• Slow (1 LED) 32 sec

To change the speed of the camera rail, click on the button to the far right. When you press this button it will adjust the speed of the rail and change the LED indicator on the rail to reflect the setting.

3. Framing your shot

It's important that your subject is in the middle of the Light Field Photo Rail.
This ensures that the subject will be visible at both the beginning and the end of the light field, which is one of the key aspects of a good capture.

You'll also want to make sure that you have a good amount of depth in your photo.

In this case we have a well layered background with multiple distances, and the karate chop pose provides a fun way of having a small foreground element which will "pop" in the Looking Glass.

4. Capturing a Lightfield

Alright, so now that we've got all the basics out of the way we can get onto the fun part, capturing a light field!

In this case we're going to be using the video feature of either our camera or phone. Modern smartphones take pretty excellent video, so we'll be using an iPhone XR for this demonstration.

It's important to note that if you're using the phone mount that it needs to be placed on top of the swivel/orbit mount. Mounting the phone mount directly to the rail may result in it not being able to rotate to the proper angle.

So wait, am I supposed to rapidly click on the photo button?

Nope! The best way to capture a light field photo set with your phone is to use the video settings. We find it best to start recording right before the light field capture and end right afterwards, this way there's less processing to do with your files afterwards.

5. The importance of depth

The best light field photos always include some form of depth, especially with regards to a foreground object.

In our demo reel we include pictures of Nikki and Shawn with Magnifying Glasses which really showcase the unique way the light field rail captures reality. Almost like a slice of time!

In this case, we don't have a magnifying glass :( But that's ok! We'll make do and do some clever and fun poses! In this case I thought it'd be fun to do a ninja pose! Anything is possible with light fields, choose which pose you want to do and run with it, there are no wrong choices!

6. Converting your video into a photoset

So You've got your video and now you need to convert it into a set of photos for import. There are a multitude of ways to do this, and We'll go over our favorite here.
Keep in mind that you can use any method you're comfortable with, but these are what we've found to be the simplest.

Lightfield Photo Sets work best with 45-90 views, and have diminishing returns with views over 90. In this case we want to set the in and out point to the start and end of our capture. You can do this by dragging your video into the timeline and typing "I" for in, and then "O" to mark the out point.

Once you've got the in and out markers placed you'll need to export your video as a PNG sequence.

In this case, go to export -> media. Then choose PNG from the drop down. You'll also want to adjust frame rate to 5 so you get enough frames. If you find that you have less than 45 frames output, go ahead and increase the frame rate and re-export.

It's also a good idea to set a custom folder for the export location, this will make it easier to copy and import your files later.

If this process worked properly you should have a folder full of photos you can import into HoloPlay Studio!

7. Importing your light field into HoloPlay Studio

Open HoloPlay Studio, click on add Hologram -> Light Field Photo -> and then select the folder your photos are in.

Congrats on taking your first light field photo! 🎉