Not to be outdone by Facebook’s entry into the VR Video market, action camera masters GoPro are jumping back in to the VR Video scene with a new offering. GoPro have announced their new Omni VR Camera rig.
Entry Level VR
While GoPro are no strangers to the VR Video landscape their previous entry to the market was the pricey GoPro Odyssey – which was set to retail at launch at $15,000. Ouch. That camera utilised 16 GoPro’s, while this new slimmed down camera system is to cost $4,999 and utilises 6 GoPro cameras in a cube formation, rather than a ring.
This is not much a downgrade considering the enhanced versatility of the new Omni system and the ability to shoot at 8K.
The camera rig is a lightweight aluminium design which is far more mobile, designed to be used as an ‘action-cam’, this is far more in line with GoPro’s product range.
VR Video Market Breakthrough
This very well may be the point of the new GoPro Omni. A far more practical offering of a 360 degree camera system, designed to connect with a dedicated user base.
Extreme sports and extreme environment filming is what has made GoPro a stand out brand. With a competitive a relatively affordable VR Video offering GoPro have a very good chance of capturing a good segment of the developing VR Video / 360 video market.
VR Video Eco-System
Similar to Facebook’s open source approach to 360 Video / VR Video, the new Omni Camera will access GoPro VR, a new website and app environment for VR content, through a partnership with Kolor.
While platform support for VR video is improving on services like YouTube and Facebook, it’s still very much in its infancy. A dedicated user support environment could make the difference between VR video as a whole, becoming the next big step forward in video technology or remaining a niche curiosity.
VR Video Next Steps
While 360 Video or VR Video is making ground in the web video world, at the moment use of this platform is still rather niche.
Price is still a huge hurdle for many hoping to utilise it and even watch it. Consumer lever VR headsets like The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are still in their first generation and priced well out the range of many, for an unproven content platform.
But given the huge pre-order numbers for all the major VR headset platforms released this year, it’s a safe bet that if content produced using rigs like the GoPro Omni can grab people’s attention and prove popular, future versions of the headsets will be far more affordable along with the camera systems used to create content for them.
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