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Nokia updates its $45,000 OZO Camera with new firmware features, improved software

On Thursday, Nokia’s OZO head of marketing and presence capture, Mick Perona, provided details regarding a new update to the OZO Camera and the OZO Software suite. The updated Software suite, version 1.3.0, is available now on the website for MacOS customers to download and use. Windows customers can get the software, too through the new OZO Windows Open Beta program that will be provided until the end of November.

If you’re not familiar with the OZO Camera, it’s a $45,000 ball-shaped device provided by Nokia Technologies to capture 360-degree spherical video and 360 x 360 surround sound. There are eight video sensors, each packing a 2,000 x 2,000 resolution and a 195-degree field of view. The camera comes with enough storage space to record 45 minutes of video via the OZO Digital Cartridge.

For starters, the OZO team updated the camera’s firmware with three new features: Assisted Exposure Mode, the OZO Remote Web Interface, and Wi-Fi Monitoring. This last feature allows owners to use the real-time monitoring in OZO Remote when connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network rather than using an SDI cable.

As for the other two firmware additions, Assisted Exposure Mode will auto-adjust the exposure to lighting changes while filming. Thus, by using OZO Remote, users can find the optimal exposure with just a single click, or manually hold down the “Capture” button for four seconds. Meanwhile, with the new OZO Remote Web Interface, owners can adjust the camera’s settings using the web browser of a mobile device, such as a tablet or laptop.

On the OZO Software front, the suite now supports MacOS Yosemite and El Capitan. Alternately, the new Windows Open Beta program serves up Windows 10 versions of OZO Remote, OZO Creator, and OZO Preview. Thanks to this program, the camera will finally support the popular Oculus Rift (CV-1) VR headset.

According to the blog, the camera will output “stitched” files faster than what was provided in OZO Creator v1.2.0 released in June. This feature essentially ties (stitches) content together into one long string. As of June’s update, the rate was 10 seconds per frame of footage, which was 25 percent faster than the previous update. Perona said the new OZO Creator release provides an even more “significant” speed improvement.

Other highlighted changes provided in Perona’s blog includes the ability to mount the OZO camera upside down while retaining a right-side up monitoring view via OZO Remote. There’s also an improved white balance, and a new lossless 24-bit PCM audio format called Broadcast Wave Format for exporting audio from OZO Creator to a Steinberg Nuendo DAW environment.

“This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the enhancements we’ve made to OZO — which also includes a UX upgrade and improvements to the command-line interface — but these are the VR features our users ask for most frequently,” Perona said. “Together, they make OZO and OZO Software suite faster, easier, and more versatile for a variety of professional uses.”

Head here to download the new OZO Software suite for MacOS, and here to access the Windows Open Beta program. If you have $45,000 to spare, the OZO Camera can be purchased right here for all of your VR filming needs. It comes with the Digital Cartridge for storing video, power supplies, a small tripod adapter, a USB docking station, and more. The company also provides a $5,000 OZO Digital Cartridge bundle consisting of a rechargeable battery and the OZO Media Module.

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