Photokina 2016: A closer look at the GoPro Omni 360 rig and how to use it

There’s no question about it. GoPro’s Omni has been one of the most anticipated VR camera rigs yet.

Although using GoPros for 360 video isn’t new (third party accessory companies have already developed plenty of rigs) the Omni brings something very unique to the table: an entire 360 video end-to-end ecosystem. Undoubtedly, manufacturing the camera and owning the software (GoPro bought Kolor, the maker of Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga, last year) gives GoPro an edge.

The GoPro Omni array mounts six (six!) GoPro Hero Black cameras. Photograph by Chuck Fadely for Newsshooter.com
The GoPro Omni. Photograph by Chuck Fadely for Newsshooter.com

The Omni, which began shipping August 17, costs 5,400 Euro or $5,000 US and includes the Omni Sync rig, six Hero4 Black cameras, six 32GB microSD cards and six batteries, a remote, a seven-port USB hub and six card readers, all cables and accessories, and Omni Importer, Kolor Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga apps. You can also buy just the Omni Sync Rig for $1,500.

One of the Omni’s key features is its synchronized six-camera array. One camera controls them all, from mode selection to pressing record.

“There’s no more walking around to make sure all the cameras are running, and there are no more surprises in post-production that one camera was set to 2.7K and the others, 1440,” said GoPro’s Joe VanDalsem. “The internal system does diagnostic checks to ensure every camera is on the exact same mode and firing on the exact same frame.”

The Omni can be powered from in-camera batteries or the included Switronix Hypercore-98S external battery. The package also comes with a remote for wireless triggering from up to 600 feet away.

Another key feature of the Omni system is Omni Importer, which offers footage preview and data management.

“If you were to pull the cards out and put them back in a different order, when you open them in Omni Importer, every shot will know which camera it came from and will come in seamlessly and automatically,” VanDalsem said. Omni Importer also allows you to create an initial stitch to quickly review your footage and select only the clips you need.

The all-inclusive system also includes Autopano Video Pro and Autopano Giga apps, as well as Adobe Premiere plugins Horizon and Reframe. Horizon, simply, allows you to straighten out your horizon, while Reframe gives you the option to use your 360-degree footage in traditional 2D media as dynamic camera moves, little world views, and more. You can also preview from Premiere in an Oculus headset as you edit.

For more information about the Omni, visit GoPro’s website.

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