GoPro is Finally Shipping its Massive Professional VR Rig
The 16-camera virtual reality rig that GoPro designed with Google have eventually shipped following months of delay. GoPro tells The Verge that Odyssey, as it is known, has reached the first companies that were vetted as part of a “limited access” pilot platform.
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GoPro refused to give comments on the actual amount of customers who have gotten or even applied to purchase Odyssey, but did list VR production companies WEVR, VRSE, Specular Theory, Surreal, and Two Bit Circus as some of the first to get the rig.
Odyssey is not your common virtual reality capture device. The large, spaceship-like rig costs $15,000 and employs 16 cameras to shoot three-dimensional 360-degree video. The price tag covers the following: 16 of the company’s flagship Hero 4 Black cameras, a microphone, and the rig structure itself, and a Pelican case, as well as a warranty, support, and access to Google’s servers.
A Powerful Option For Companies With a Budget
That makes it a very good option for all kinds of filmmakers and companies with a bit of a budget. For comparison, Nokia’s all-in-one Hollywood-ready VR cameras provides close capabilities and costs $60,000. GoPro, also sells a six-camera rig (more like the commonly used homebrew solutions) for $5,000, and other companies sell rig for even less – although with little to no software support. Other high-end solutions, such as the Jaunt One, have no announced price.
The camera rig was made public about a year back at the Google I/O developer conference. It was an aspect of Google’s announcement of Jump, a complete ecosystem for virtual reality filmmaking. Previously, filmmakers looking to shoot stereoscopic 360-degree video have had to employ outside companies or join together their own end-to-end solutions. Jump offers filmmakers some autonomy; they not only earn access to Google’s servers, which spontaneously processes and stitches the VR footage, but the platform also offers schematics for camera rigs.
Odyssey was the first camera rig that was intentionally designed to be used with Jump. (it still appears to be the only one till date). GoPro began taking applications back in September, but missed the initially promised ship date of November, and Recode reported last month that GoPro’s speaks with capable suitors “abruptly stalled” in January.
GoPro tells The Verge that the holdback occurred due to the fact that Odyssey just wasn’t ready in time. “Odyssey is the industry’s only commercially available automatic sync and stitch, stereo, 360-degree video capture solution,” a representative for the company says. “We will always take the time needed to give our customers the best products we can create.”
The company claims that it is still collecting applications on a rolling platform, but that the Odyssey rigs are shipping in ripples as they are designed. The unit displayed, photographed at GoPro’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, is what is called “design validation test” unit, basically the final model made before the company closes production.