GoPro has had rather a torrid time over the last couple of years, having seen a collapse in their share price and a product line-up that was criticised for being rather confusing.
All that’s changing though – the company’s announcement that they have hired a former Apple VP of design gave their stock a bump, they’ve simplified their product offering and now they’re betting that their simple fixed lens wide-angle cameras will be easily adapted for capturing VR content.
GoPro’s VR offering is based around the Omni rig, an aluminium cage that houses an array of six GoPro Hero 4 Black cameras and some clever electronics that sync them all together. Press record once on the master camera and the others will start turning over automatically.
This is the sort of footage the Omni will help you capture. You might have to learn to surf first, though.
The hardware is only half the story: just as important is the stitching software and the player that allows your viewers to pan around the spherical image. GoPro sells Autopano Video Pro to make a convincing sphere from the monster 8K image the cameras ‘see’, and its GoPro VR App allows the viewer to pan around the image using its smartphone to control the viewport.
The array is available as a kit for $4,999 US, which includes six cameras, the cage and a software licence for Kolor software apps Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga. If you happen to already have six cameras and the software lying around, the cage is also available separately for $1,500 US.