GoPro Built This Epic 16-Camera Array To Capture VR Content For Google

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The 360-Degree Camera Array aims to capture the world for virtual reality. The rig holds 16 Hero4 cameras and records a 360-degree panoramic video — think like the Matrix’s bullet time but outward facing. But you can’t buy it yet. For the first six months rigs like these will be available exclusively to Google content creators.

As the video shows below the recorded video works without the need of a VR headset. A special video player developed internally gives viewers a new way to experience the action. Somewhat like in a VR headset, the viewer can control where they look using a mouse wheel to scroll and arrow keys to tilt and pan. It’s not VR, but it’s still rad.

This is part of Google’s big push for virtual reality content. Right now there isn’t a go-to off-the-shelf solution for capturing high quality 360-degree video. This rig synchronizes the captured content with high speed connectivity and since the mounting system has a threaded mount, it can be attracted to a tripod or drone.

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If virtual reality is to become real reality, content is desperately needed. Google knows this and aims to push top YouTubers into creating this content. GoPro and Google are not announcing a price for the 360 Degree Camera Array yet (16 Hero4 cameras cost $6,400). Instead the companies are stating that it will be available exclusively to “high-profile YouTube ‘celebrities’ who maintain significant number of followers.”

Over the last year GoPro has made moves to embrace VR. Two months ago it acquired Kolor, a software company specializing in virtual reality video capture. Since then, the company announced a camera rig that captures video in a spherical format, which will be available in the second half of 2015. “This is really going to be most appealing for production companies and prosumers,” CEO Nick Woodman said about the spherical rig yesterday at CodeConference. He added that ‘normal’ people would definitely end up buying it but the first version would be for pros.