October 19, 2017

Nokia Lays OZO VR Camera to Permanent Rest

The Nokia OZO, currently the market leader in 360° video capture, will no longer be developed.

Nokia has officially announced that it will no longer develop the OZO, the company's all-in-one solution for 360° video capture. The camera platform has been the most popular in the space due to its streamlined nature, both being powered from and capturing to a single unit.

This workflow was refined in comparison to competitive systems that involved rigging and syncing multiple GoPros or custom building from parts, and it took off with filmmakers who wanted explore VR without the headaches. The OZO is particularly popular in the  VR space, where events like movie premiere red carpets are streamed to ever-growing audiences in 360°.

The OZO itself wasn't perfect, with its biggest drawback being the single record/power module. At launch, not many were available, meaning having enough of a supply to keep shooting without waiting on battery recharge was often a hassle. Combined with the slow footage download time, it made for a less than ideal experience. Despite that, OZO was the most refined 360° capture experience available. With an original launch price of $60,000, reduced to $45,000 earlier this year, the current OZO is available from Nokia for only $25,000.

One possible reason for pulling out of the market is the launch of the Insta360, which we covered at NAB this year, a 360° 8K capture device that started shipping this summer for a fraction of the price of the OZO at only $3500. It's very hard to compete against a competitor that undercuts your price by 85%. This isn't the end of 360° capture by any means, but it is a sign that the marketplace isn't necessarily a gold rush quite yet, and that big players might not necessarily find rewards at the high end.      

Your Comment

6 Comments

Because VR/360 is just a gimmick like 3D,
and because OZO was too expansive.

October 19, 2017 at 12:37PM, Edited October 19, 12:37PM

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JeffreyWalther
Steadicam Operator
1251

3D may be a gimmick, but VR is not. Have you ever tried a real system like the Oculus Rift?

All the none believer friends I have had over to my house to experience the Rift first hand has changed their mind.

October 19, 2017 at 12:42PM

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James Pacheco
Video Guy
26

I was at a fb event that had Rift. The majority of people put them on and looked up, looked right, looked left and took them off.

VR didn't work in the 90's and it's dying now. In 2020 Mark Queeferberg will make an announcement fb is no longer developing Rift.

October 20, 2017 at 1:11AM

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K W
270

I agree that 3D video is a gimmick for narrative filmmaking ( fine for video games ), so I knew that the 3D TV fad was dead before it even came to market.

But I think the cost of VR/360 production has to come down to a point where high quality VR recording is affordable ( say $1,000+ ), before it will really take off. All of the low-cost VR cameras I've tried produce a poor image that is crushed by high compression and low bit-rate. We also need high quality low-cost VR headsets that consumers can buy at $200 or less.

With great VR content the VR experience can be absolutely breathtaking, but the market has to mature, and the cost has to be affordable for everyone, for both content producers and consumers.

October 22, 2017 at 11:54AM, Edited October 22, 11:55AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32671

I don't really see the purpose of VR/360° for filmmaking, neither for narrative nor for documentary or even news. The purpose of shooting and editing is to show the viewer one selective thing per edit, this concept totally goes out the window with 360° and as a viewer I always have the feeling to be missing something important every time I look around.
Maybe it would be useful for something like a virtual tour through a cave or a castle, where you can look around as if you were there.
Other than that, I think VR will be great for gaming and it will probably have many professional applications as well. But filmmaking in VR? I really don't think so.

October 23, 2017 at 8:31AM, Edited October 23, 8:32AM

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It's a kind of POV film-making, where the viewer is right there while everything is happening around them.

...You are walking in the woods at night with your friend and you start to get suspicious that a wolf pack is tracking you. You can hear them coming from your left, then from behind, and they are getting closer, until you start to see their eyes lit up by your flashlight.

Combined with 360 audio, I can imagine a scene like the one above scaring the sh*t out of you, whether it was part of a narrative film or a 3D game.

In a narrative film you would be a passive observer where you can't change anything ( unless interactive storytelling is incorporated into the experience ), where a 3D game would allow you to take action to change the outcome of your experience.

October 23, 2017 at 12:20PM, Edited October 23, 12:20PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32671