Nokia Announces the Ground Breaking Ozo Virtual Reality Camera
Nokia announced that they’re accepting early orders for its Ozo virtual reality camera. The first shipments will be coming in the first quarter of 2016. The cost of their Ozo camera will be a whopping $60,000.
Nokia revealed Ozo last July as a high-end virtual reality camera designed to capture video and audio in 360-degrees. It’s the kind of solution that the virtual reality market has sorely needed. Artists have been regularly creating live-action VR content, but most of it is coming from custom rigs or solutions that have been pieced together. There has been no stand out from the crowd gear that is regularly used to film television or shoot film.
And now we know that the price for such a piece of technology is certainly out of the reach of someone who has a passing hobbyist. At an event in Los Angeles, Nokia revealed just how much the solution to this issue will cost, and it’s not cheap: Ozo is priced at $60,000. As Nokia has been faced with reinventing themselves with the upheaval of the past few years, this is technology that can bolster their company and help them step out from among the crowd.
“When I joined in September of 2014, I was tasked with coming up with a new strategy for Nokia Technologies,” stated Ramzi Haidamus who is president of Nokia Technologies. An early prototype of the Oza caught his eye while looking through some of the experiments the Nokia team had been working on. “It was a very early prototype; a lab rat. But the video 3D accuracy, and the audio accuracy were phenomenal, even at that stage. And I knew we had a winner, because if you were to think of the market that’s being disrupted, introducing a brand new medium, we were catching it at the right time.”
The device, shaped like a teardrop, will capture 360° video and 360×360 surround sound to create life-like content for viewing with virtual reality devices. Nokia is calling it “the first Virtual Reality camera system specifically designed for professional production”.
The Ozo is designed to be mounted on a standard video camera tripod and is battery powered so that it can be operated wirelessly. A Nokia promotional shot also shows it to be attached to the under belly of a drone.
Ozo will begin shipping in the beginning of 2016 which turns out to be perfect timing as consumers will find themselves with an array of virtual reality viewing options like Google Cardboard and Gear VR, or even the imminent Playstation VR and Oculus Rift. It’s going to result in a massive shift in content creation, and Nokia is happy to support every platform or device out there that can handle the technology.
The key feature that will set Ozo apart for filmmakers seems to be the inclusion of live monitoring. That’s a baseline requirement on film and TV sets: directors and cinematographers need to see what they’re getting on film on a monitor while on set. The computing power needed to stitch imagery together has traditionally meant VR creators have to wait for a long while after they finish filming in order to see what they actually captured. Ozo goes around that with what they call “dynamic rendering”, allowing the filmmakers to put on VR goggles and look around the field of view captured by the eight lenses and microphones that Ozo sports, in real time.
With its sleek workflow and cute as a button look, Ozo seems like it could be the best option for someone looking to take up VR storytelling — if it wasn’t for that price point. But it seems clear Ozo is just part of a much larger plan Nokia is keeping its eye on.
It might all come across as rather ambitious for what’s basically a highly expensive video camera, but it’s pretty clear that Nokia thinks it has found a niche that uniquely is suited for them to capitalize upon and in the process to write a new chapter for their company.