Nokia Ozo, the first commercially available virtual reality (VR) camera designed and built for professional content creators and first in a planned portfolio of digital media solutions from Nokia Technologies, the company’s advanced technology and licensing business.
For Hollywood types, Ozo has number of selling points. It’s a camera that lets them make VR in real time, thanks to pair of key features. The first is live monitoring: directors can view footage as it’s being shot on a headset. The second is rapid playback. In the past, VR footage needed to be digitally stitched together video for playback in as little as a few minutes, Nokia says.
When it debuts, Ozo will join a nascent but rapidly developing market for VR creative tools. In May, after acquiring a VR company, GoPro announced it was building a spherical camera mount to record immersive video. Later that month, the company announced a separated 16-camera system designed to be used with Google Jump. Jump, announced at the Google I/O developer conference, intends to be a full-featured ecosystem for VR filmmaking. Samsung is building a camera rig as well.
Nokia says Ozo is the most advanced VR filmmaking platform yet. It certainly looks amazing – a spherical rig the size of a large cantaloupe, roughly 2.72 kg, with 8 optical image sensors spaced roughly an eye width apart. Audio is captured in three dimensions by 8 microphones embedded in the camera, and the result is audio that helps to locate you in space. If you hear a dog barking behind you in Ozo-produced VR, look behind you – you’ll see the dog.
Ozo affixes to a standard tripod and outputs video in standard formats. You can watch Ozo video on a headset like Oculus’ or as a 3D video posted to a site like YouTube. The goal was to make a systme that would integrate into filmmakers’ existing workflows, Nokia executives said, and not to trap them in proprietary file formats.
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