Ever-shifting camera tech company Lytro has raised major cash to continue development and deployment of its cinema-level camera systems. Perhaps the company’s core technology, “light field photography” that captures rich depth data, will be put to better use there than it was in the ill-fated consumer offerings.
“We believe we have the opportunity to be the company that defines the production pipeline, technologies and quality standards for an entire next generation of content,” wrote CEO Jason Rosenthal in a blog post.
Just what constitutes that next generation is rather up in the air right now, but Lytro feels sure that 360-degree 3D video will be a major part of it. That’s the reason it created its Immerge capture system — and then totally re-engineered it from a spherical lens setup to a planar one.
The $60M round was led by Blue Pool Capital, with participation from EDBI, Foxconn, Huayi Brothers and Barry Sternlicht. “We believe that Asia in general and China in particular represent hugely important markets for VR and cinematic content over the next five years,” Rosenthal said in a statement.
It’s a hell of a lot of money, more even than the $50M round the company raised to develop its original consumer camera — which flopped. Its Illum follow-up camera, aimed at more serious photographers, also flopped. Both were innovative technologically but expensive and their use cases questionable.