8i is a revolutionary way of experiencing 3D video and connecting with people from all over the world. This New Zealand-based startup has developed a new video format using the so-called "light field technology” that is used, for example, in the Lytro Illum camera. Unlike DSLRs, this camera images with information on the direction, color and intensity of the light rays. This allows for a very wide post-processing options and also for very realistic 3D imagery. Unlike many companies out there, 8i does not want to focus on the gaming industry. Instead, they are most interested in making digital human interaction more real and immersive.
The team behind 8i consists of experts from very prominent technology and entertainment companies including Weta Digital, YouTube, NVIDIA, PayPal, Microsoft Research, Sony Computer Entertainment, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar and Valve. The goal is to develop a powerful platform for all content creators, who will be able to integrate this technology in many different projects and real-world applications.
#100humans Portrait Series
The very first preview of what can be achieved is called #100humans Portrait Series. It features various musicians, performers, and athletes showcasing how accurate and detailed videos recorded with this technology can be. Viewers can choose between playing them in their web browsers and using Oculus Rift. It is possible to easily look around and see the person in the video from different angles without interrupting the playback.
Holo is a mobile mixed reality app that lets you add 3D holograms to your real-world environment and take videos and photos you can share with friends.
8i’s first significant round of venture capital financing has resulted in $13.5 million worth of investments from companies like Samsung Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, RRE Ventures, Founders Fund Science, and others. It is clear that these investors see a great promise in this emerging technology and everything it could enable in the future. Linc Gasking, 8i co-founder and CEO, has also announced that the company will be opening a new studio for content creators with an interest in the technology.
On February 13, 2017, 8i raised an additional $27 million in Venture Capital.