GoPro revolutionized the action sports photography marketplace by creating a highly durable, professional quality camera that could tackle the rough terrain athletes gravitate toward. Since then, GoPro has largely remained a niche product but the company has recently been attempting to break its typecasting by expanding into other verticals. One of the untapped markets that GoPro is working to mine is that of immersive media and its pickaxe of choice is the Omni 360 Camera — a VR capture device that begins shipping next week at $4,999.
The Omni is a rig of six separate cameras that are all programmed to act and capture as one. According to the company, the Omni contains “a synchronization mechanism that allows all six cameras to act as one. Power on the primary camera, and you power on all-six cameras. Adjust the shooting mode on the primary camera, and all cameras automatically, and instantly align on the same mode.”
In order for the feeds of these six cameras to be turned into one, cohesive 360 image they would need to undergo a process known as stitching. Specialized software takes the carefully angled shots captured by each camera and “stitches” them into a pixel-smooth sphere that can be explored inside of a VR headset.
The Omni has its own proprietary stitching program known as Omni Importer. Importer was created by GoPro itself and automatically completes the stitching process so that burgeoning VR filmmakers and photographers don’t have to become experts just to complete a single shot.
Other features of note for the Omni include: pixel synchronization, “error-proof” shooting, heat dissipation, modular parts, and metadata management.
GoPro has also created GoPro VR: an online hub for viewing your 360 creations that can be accessed via web, desktop or mobile. GoPro VR is compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones.