The technology behind the GoPro Odyssey was unveiled at Google’s annual developer conference this year, and has now been released to the public.
Filmmakers can get their hands on the amazing rig for $15,000, and it will allow them to make 360-degree stereoscopic 3D video at 8K resolution and 30 frames per second. In order to collect such a huge amount of data, the GoPro Odyssey uses an array of 16 GoPro Hero4 Black cameras.
GoPro and Google collaborate on 360-degree 3D video
Hollister claims that the quality of the footage goes far beyond other 360-degree video cameras, and attributes the high quality to the Google software used in the equipment. Google is set to offer consumers the chance to 3D print a frame and install your own cameras under its Jump initiative, but GoPro offers a completely integrated package.
The hardware interfaces each camera together, specially built firmware is loaded onto the cameras and you can charge all 16 of them at once. Buyers will receive connectivity mounts (“bacpacs”) for each camera, cables, memory cards, a pelican case and the Odyssey rig. According to GoPro, the Odyssey also means that the 16 units act as one and each pixel will be accurately synced.
Another reason to buy the GoPro version is that it may be the only way to access Google’s Jump video assembler technology for the foreseeable future. Only a few “select content partners” are expected to be able to get their hands on the Jump video assembler, which has impressed analysts so far.
Spherical videos increasingly popular
To get an idea of what the GoPro Odyssey is capable of, watch this video. Smartphone users can tap and drag their handset to move around, but best results are to be had using a Google Cardboard headset.
For those of you eager to create virtual reality videos without shelling out big bucks, the Ricoh Theta is a good option. For $350 the nifty little camera lets you upload non-3D spherical videos to YouTube and spherical photos to Google Street View.
GoPro is also set to release its own spherical video solution without the involvement of Google. The array will use just 6 cameras and should be more affordable than the $15,000 Odyssey.
The company bought panoramic video firm Kolor in April, before Jump was announced in May. It seems as though GoPro will use Kolor’s expertise to produce its own virtual reality and immersive video devices.
GoPro Odyssey to ship to selected partners in November
If you’ve got the cash and think you will meet the criteria for early access to Odyssey, apply here. Early access users must be based in U.S., Canada, UK, the EU, Japan, or Brazil.
Once you’ve passed the test GoPro and Google will select partners, who will be able to buy an Odyssey rig. The kit is expected to ship in November.
Although $15,000 sounds like a lot of money, GoPro claims that it is justified because of research and development costs, camera-syncing technology and adapting the Odyssey for simultaneous charging of all 16 cameras.
GoPro’s collaboration with Google is another way in which the company is showing its taste for innovation. Shareholders will surely be encouraged by signs that the company is investing considerable time and resources in ensuring that it remains at the forefront of video technology.