August 17, 2016

GoPro Goes VR with New Omni Rig

GoPro Omni Rig
Today, GoPro brought its vision of end-to-end design to VR.

Originally shown off in our NAB video back in April, GoPro has just released Omni, a camera rig which, when combined with Kolor post-processing software, forms a full VR content capture and post-processing solution. GoPro is also building a platform for 360° video sharing on its site, GoPro VR. With the company's prevalence in the action sports area, this rig will hopefully be strapped to the front of motorcycles, surfboards, and RC cars in no time.

If this is meant to be a true VR solution for adventure sports and crazy action, managing six cards just seems like a recipe for disaster.

One of the hassles of VR filming is keeping all the cameras in precise sync. This was a problem we first dealt with as stereo became a player about a decade ago: for our brains to fuse multiple video images into one, the cameras capturing those images need to be in sync down to the millisecond. This is, of course, even more complicated the more cameras you rig together. It's great to see that the Omni is designed not just as a rig to mount a series of cameras on, but also as a legitimate VR tool that keeps the cameras genlocked to each other.

Credit: GoPro
Another useful feature is the ability to power the rig centrally with a single V-block battery. This allows for simpler operation—there's one battery system to worry about, rather than six—and also allows the empty battery space to be used for cooling. Considering how frequently the cooling features are mentioned (the press release also mentions that the aluminum frame will help with heat distribution), it looks like GoPro has addressed the heat issues that are common when six cameras work together in close proximity.

Despite the syncing solution, a big concern are the six SD cards spread around six cameras; they all need to be changed when full, downloaded, and all the data must be managed. With dedicated camera assistants, managing six cameras isn’t that hard, but GoPro has long built run-and-gun products, and if this is meant to be a true VR solution for adventure sports and crazy action, managing six cards just seems like a recipe for disaster. Lose the footage from one card—whether by an incomplete download or losing the card itself—and the whole shot is ruined. Hopefully, this will be addressed in a future release of the Omni.

Omni Case
GoPro Omni in its caseCredit: GoPro

 

GoPro has had its finger on the pulse of changes in the camera industry in the past; hopefully, this will be one of the big releases that makes 360° content accessible a larger audience.

Tech specs

  • Spherical rig with 6 HERO4 Black Cameras
  • 8K max capture resolution
  • Pixel-level camera syncing
  • 2 stitching software programs
  • V-mount battery power
  • 6 microSD cards with readers
  • Waterproof carrying case

For more, read this step-by-step guide to creating 360° VR.      

Your Comment

1 Comment

People seem to have a ton of questions about shooting on the Omni, so I made a crash course. https://goo.gl/2exUda

February 22, 2017 at 10:50PM

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Jon Kline
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