08 May 2017

Google’s New Camera for VR Content Creation

Almost every day, it seems, a new camera for shooting virtual reality content is announced. Ranging from consumer-grade devices that cost a few hundred dollars to those meant for Hollywood filmmakers that come with five-figure price tags, the goal is the same: to ensure that there’s more and more VR content so that people buy more VR headsets. Developed by Google and made by China’s Yi, the $17,000, 17-lens Jump Halo—and its associated post-processing software and distribution system—is meant to shoot high-quality 360-degree video, stitch it together automatically, and be light enough at 7.5 pounds to take just about anywhere.

This Jump is an upward-facing lens that ensures the video it shoots captures not just 360 degrees, but also everything above the camera, and then stitches it all together seamlessly. The Jump Halo can shoot 8K by 8K stereoscopic 360 video at 30 frames per second, or 6K by 6K at 60 frames per second. It also gives filmmakers total control over parameters such as ISO, white balance, and the like. It’s optimized for Google’s VR platform, ensuring content works with Google’s stitching algorithms, which aim to remove most if not all of the telltale lines that often betray where content from one lens didn’t quite mesh with that of the next one over.

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