Google's New Jump Camera is a Crazy VR Rig with 16 GoPro HERO4s
Today at Google's I/O event, the company unveiled Jump, which is both a VR camera rig consisting of 16 GoPro HERO4 Black cameras, as well as Jump Assembler, the software to make it all come together. Here's a brief video giving a taste of what Jump is all about:
To see this in practice, check out one of the videos shot with the rig and spliced together with Google's software (move around with the AWSD keys):
And while GoPro is obviously the first company working on a Jump rig, Bavor said that filmmakers will theoretically be able to use any off-the-shelf cameras. (The benefit of buying GoPro's instead of building your own, however, would be that the optimizations done on the back end would already be taken care of.) You can also make the camera array out of any material. "We’ve made one out of 3D-printed plastic, one out of machined metal, and for good measure, of course, we also made one out of cardboard," Bavor said.
But what good is all of this without the supporting technology behind it? Not only does Google have a solution in their cardboard VR viewer which now works with both iOS and Android devices with screens as big as 6", but they are also going to be supporting VR videos directly in YouTube. Watch the video below from The Verge for all of Google's big announcements, and skip to 7:47 for just the VR products:
But that's not the only VR rig that's been in the news, as GoPro just recently showed off Spherical, which takes a slightly different approach than the Google-led solution:
And here's a video shot with GoPro's Spherical rig, which should be released sometime later this year:
As with all of these solutions, time will tell if there is enough content and if it's something the general public will actually come to appreciate. VR requires a lot of support on both the software and the hardware end, but all the technology in the world won't mean much if people just don't care and the content isn't very compelling. We just recently saw Fast and Furious director Justin Lin tackle his own VR project with a custom RED rig, which hopefully means that in the future more people will take advantage of higher-quality cameras — even if it means things have to be that much more precise than the GoPro rigs with their large depth of field and fixed lenses.