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Budding VR filmmakers, GoPro’s six-camera 360-degree rig is finally ready to ship

GoPro: Introducing Omni
Four months after unveiling its six-camera Omni VR rig, GoPro has confirmed it’ll launch the kit in just a few days.

While its $5,000 price tag makes it a very expensive toy for regular consumers, the Omni is likely to attract the attention of budget-conscious pro filmmakers looking to get into 360-degree video without breaking the bank.

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The Omni, which starts shipping on August 17, consists of an aluminum cube-shaped rig fitted with six Hero4 Black action cameras which together offer 360-degree video at a final resolution of up to 8K.

With so many cameras involved, GoPro’s contraption may sound like more hassle than it’s worth. But the California-based company knew better than to build something that would infuriate more than facilitate. Indeed, thanks to the rig’s built-in synchronization technology, its final design offers seamless operation where, for example, the settings on one camera automatically transfer to the others, effectively creating a single unit.

Fire up the lead camera and the other five automatically spring into action, shooting video in every direction in the all-important first stage of production. Once your footage is in the can, the Omni Importer cooks up an instant, lo-res preview stitch, and saves you time by letting you select particular sections for rendering. The software also offers color correction and stabilization capabilities.

Along with the Importer tool, you also get Kolor’s Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga software, which offer greater optimization of your footage, allowing you to make detailed tweaks for the best 360-degree image possible. Finished work can be viewed via VR headset, mobile, desktop, and web.

So what’s in the box? A lot, by the looks of it. Besides the rig, six action cameras and software, you’ll also find a GoPro Smart Remote to initiate synchronized recording (also possible using GoPro’s mobile app), six batteries, six Mini USB cables, six 32GB MicroSD cards and card readers, and a sturdy case in which to carry it all.

If you happen to have already amassed a collection of Hero4 cameras (at least six, ideally), then you only need to fork out $1,500 for the Omni rig to start shooting your debut 360-degree masterpiece, though the software will cost you extra.

With consumers gradually warming up to the idea of immersive 360-degree video content, filmmakers are becoming increasingly interested in exploring the platform. Rival rigs offering a high-end experience and decent imagery cost a small fortune at the current time – Facebook’s offering, for example, comes with a $30,000 price tag while Nokia’s Ozo kit will cost you twice that – so GoPro’s Omni, with its much more affordable price tag, could prove extremely tempting for filmmakers looking to enter the space.

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