At its I/O developer conference back in May, Google, you may recall, showed off an outlandish bit of kit designed to capture real-world 360-degree/3D video content for virtual reality.
The striking though somewhat unwieldy rig, which DT managed to see up close, comprises 16 GoPro cameras fixed to a tripod-mounted wheel. The mass of captured footage is processed by software offered as part of Google’s VR “Jump” platform, which can then be viewed via an Android handset slotted into the Mountain View company’s Cardboard 3D viewer.
Having tinkered with its design, GoPro has now put its multi-camera “Odyssey” kit on sale, though you’ll have to convince the company you’re a professional content creator to have any chance of getting your hands on it. Oh, and give them $15,000, too.
Your hefty cash outlay will get you 16 Hero4 Black cameras and “BacPac” connectivity mounts, the Odyssey panoramic capture rig, 16 MicroSD memory cards, all the necessary accessories and cables, and a robust Pelican case for safe transportation. The entire kit tips the scales at 14.5Ibs (6.6kg).
Also part of the package is Google’s powerful stitching software that cleverly weaves together all the captured footage into one seamless, immersive video.
GoPro says it has a limited number of Odyssey units available, and is asking interested professional content creators in the U.S., Canada, the U.K, and several other countries to get in touch via an online form on its website.
Highlighting the potential of Odyssey and Jump, the company released a two-minute video (above) shot and processed entirely with all the gear, though you’ll want to strap on your VR headset to get the full effect.
A growing interest in VR is pushing an increasing number of companies to explore ways to create effective and immersive content for the platform. Nokia, for example, recently announced details of Ozo, an advanced spherical camera set for launch later this year. Also aimed at media professionals, Ozo captures footage via eight cameras and mics spread evenly around cantaloupe-sized globe.
Ozo looks a lot easier on the eye than GoPro’s gear, and is clearly more mobile, but we’re keen to see VR content from not just these but all the competing offerings before making any final judgments.