Announced roughly a year ago, the rig, which consists of 16 Hero 4 Black cameras, a Pelican case, and a microphone, is—after months of delay—now shipping to a list of companies in what they're calling a "limited access" pilot program. The rig runs $15,000.
Odyssey is part of Google's Jump program, a holistic plan to provide filmmakers with more VR options (though Odyssey is part of Jump, it is not the only rig that can work with the system.) VR generally works by taking footage from multiple cameras, shooting simultaneously, and then "stitching" it all together inside of a software engine. Thus far, VR filmmakers have had to either outsource or improvise their own systems for shooting 360-degree stereoscopic footage. Jump aims to provide a one-stop-shop for VR filmmakers: it not only helps enable shooting with the Odyssey, but provides a solution for stitching too. Even if you can't afford the Odyssey rig, you can use Jump's powerful post-production options.
"Odyssey is the industry’s only commercially available automatic sync and stitch, stereo, 360-degree video capture solution."
Here's some footage shot with the camera, though without viewing equipment, the experience is not quite the same:
Because the almighty Google is behind Jump, filmmakers who use the Odyssey will have access to powerful servers to do the crucial data-crunching. Jump will also provide filmmakers with schematics for camera rigs. GoPro will now be accepting applications for access to the equipment on a "rolling basis," and told The Verge: "Odyssey is the industry’s only commercially available automatic sync and stitch, stereo, 360-degree video capture solution." Stay tuned for more virtual developments as they happen. Virtually.