How To Capture Light Field Photos


Looking Glass Bridge


Looking Glass Studio



In this guide, we'll walk you through how to take light field photos on the Looking Glass Light field Photo Rail. The light field photo rail is a method of capturing static high definition 3D information for display in Looking Glass holographic interfaces.This method uses a 4K video camera driven along a motorized rail that captures a minimum of 45 unique viewpoints of the subject. The images are extracted and can be directly imported in Looking Glass Studio to view as a hologram!

1. Powering on your camera rail

Before you can begin taking your light field photos, you 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 level.

Pressing the power button will cause the light field rail to perform a "homing" process.

2. Setting the speed

The Light Field Photo Rail has three different speeds by default, denoted by the number of LED Lights (⚪) active.

• ⚪⚪⚪ Fast 11 sec - this will be the best choice for most captures

• ⚪⚪⚫ Medium 16 sec

• ⚪⚫⚫ Slow 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.

The third button on the right will change the speed on the light field photo rail.

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 this karate chop pose provides a fun way of having a small foreground element -which will "pop" in the Looking Glass.

For more information on how to capture light fields check out our light field documentation.

4. Capturing a light field

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. We recommend setting the video capture settings to 4K on the phone for sharper results.

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 a second, 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 some of our team members with Magnifying Glasses and this really showcases 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! I thought it'd be fun to do a karate chop pose! Anything is possible with light fields and you can choose any post you want to do. There are no wrong choices so experiment! 

Videos are the easiest way to capture light field photosets but require a bit of additional processing.

6. Converting your video into a photoset

You've got your video. 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 way here. Keep in mind that you can use any method you're comfortable with and the following recommendation is just what we've found to be the simplest.

Light field 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 point and  "O" to mark the out point.

Once you've got the in and out markers placed, let's export your video as a PNG sequence.

  • Go to export -> media.
  • Then choose PNG from the drop down.
  • 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. Now you should have a folder full of photos you can import into Looking Glass Studio!

7. Importing your light field into Looking Glass Studio

Open Looking Glass Studio, from here you can either drag & drop the first photo in your photoset in, then choose the "Light field photoset" option.

Congrats on taking your first light field photo! 🎉

If you have any questions, please reach out to us! You can reach the team at Looking Glass Factory at!

Share with us your first light field photo set, either in the Discord, or by tweeting your capture of your Looking Glass and tagging @lkgglass

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