My Blog List

Nokia's OZO, offers a 360-degree panorama perfect for VR exploration

Often discussions on the emerging technologies of virtual reality center around the user experience and the various competing devices that have been released or are coming out soon, like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and Samsung's Gear VR.

But the other half of the VR equation -- producing the worlds that consumers will soon be exploring -- is just as important (if not more) than the VR headsets themselves. And that's where Nokia's ambition OZO camera, the details of which were just released this week as the company opened for preorders, is pushing the VR production game further than any other player.

The Nokia OZO is not a consumer device, by any stretch of the imagination. For one, its $60,000 price (with a $5,000 down payment for preorders) makes it unreachable for most. Serious VR professionals need only apply: OZO wasn't designed to replicate the ease of consumer smartphones' shoot and share videos.It was, however, designed to offer a 360-degree panorama perfect for VR exploration -- and in real-time.

No other VR camera does that so far. All other 360-degree capture methods require software to stitch together all the different angles caught on single-lens devices, and even 360-degree multi-cameras require weeks of processing.

Nokia's OZO, instead, comes with "OZO Remote," software that can show the view from the device's eight cameras in real-time, individually, in a complete picture on a 2D display that can be panned, or in full VR mode with 3D audio from its eight speakers in a headset -- all instantaneously.

That happens through a little bit of trickery, which Nokia has dubbed Dynamic Rendering. The software only renders the parts of the 360-degree image that the in-headset user is looking at, rather than processing the entire panorama all at once.

Slight of hand or not, it's the beginning of instant real-world VR. And it opens up the possibility of not only making professionally produced VR footage faster and cheaper to create -- like with modern digital video, where directors can watch just-captured scenes onscreen instantly instead of old having to wait for the film's "dailies" -- but it also hints at the future of live VR videos.

Think Periscope -- except you're there.
"It's a single cable and a single data stream," said Nokia Technologies head Ramzi Haidamus in an interview with SlashGear. "You can take this camera and put it anywhere you want. To discover your favorite band. To be courtside by your favorite team. To the Supreme Court when the gay marriage decision comes out, and see the emotion and the elation."

Of course, right now OZO still too awkward and large to practically do in 3D everything that mobile camera technologies have done for 2D video. But for what it's capable of, it's already not that cumbersome.

On its specs website, Nokia boasts OZO's Spherical and Stereoscopic Video capture with Spatial Audio Array, eight synchronized 2K x 2K sensors, full-spherical 360 x 180 degree video coverage, 360 x 360 surround sound, 195-degree angle of view per lens, 30fps capture rate, WiFI camera control, and 500GB solid state drive.

And all of that in a 9.3-pound orb approximately the size of a human head (battery included).
Nokia is taking pre-orders here with shipping beginning in early 2016, if you have several thousands of dollars to spare. The rest of us will have to sit back and wait for the footage made possible by OZO to start flooding our VR headsets of choice next year.

Theme images by merrymoonmary. Powered by Blogger.