Over the last decade we have watched as social media has grown its way into our lives and evolved along the way. With Twitter the speed of communication began to ramp up but it still wasn’t realtime, not quite yet. Then, last year, Meerkat helped change the game with the introduction of live streaming on mobile. Millions flocked to it because it allowed users to connect with their favorite denizens of the internet – and with each other – in an unfiltered and raw way. Since then, Meerkat has been followed (and surpassed) by a number of similar apps from established social networks as the numbers on live streams have continued to climb – earlier this year over 20 million people tuned in live for Kayne West’s Yeezy live stream.
The point is, live streaming is here to stay – and now companies are looking to take it a step further, with VR.
Today VideoStitch announced the Orah 4i – a compact 4K live streaming 360-degree camera with a relatively tiny price tag, $1795 (for a limited time).
VideoStitch has been showcasing live streaming 360-video techniques for a while now with their software suite, including an impressive demonstration earlier last year at SIGGRAPH where the team showcased a 360-degree 3D live stream on the floor. That demonstration, while spectacular, showcased one of the major problems with the currently available solutions (AKA basically a bunch of Go-Pros): there’s just too much stuff. A rats nest of cords, numerous power supplies, and other necessary hardware components cluttered up the area – the setup was live but it was hardly mobile.
Orah seeks to change that.
An impressively small form factor makes the device highly portable. Outside of the camera all you need to get going is the included streaming and stitching box (and its power cable or an external battery) and a single cord that connects to the base of the fist sized camera. The ambisonic 3D audio is piped in through the device’s onboard mic array so it is just a push of a button and you’re live streaming away.
The camera is capable of streaming to a GearVR headset through an app at 30fps, but is recorded and can be viewed back at 90fps in a viewport window.
Right now the live streams only work in headset through VideoStitch’s app, but that may change in the future. “We’ve worked with all the big [companies],” says VideoStitch’s Daniel Doornik before saying they can’t speak further on the topic at this time. It is worth noting that VideoStitch’s software was behind Facebook’s ‘teleportation’ demonstration at F8 last year.
Bringing live 360 content creation down to the prosumer level could prove to be very important for virtual reality’s future adoption, the more content the better of course but the impact goes further. Virtual reality has been widely called the most empathetic medium because it allows you to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Starting today, virtual reality will let you walk (or at least stand) alongside them, live and in the moment.
KEY FEATURES OF ORAH 4i
- Video resolution 4096×2048 H.264 High Profile (4K)
- Audio 4Channel Ambisonic @ BFormat
- Preorder Price $1.795 (until 4/30/2016, will go up afterwards incrementally to $3.595 )
- Video Processors 2 x Ambarella
- Image Sensors 4 x Sony EXMOR
- Lenses 4 x Fisheye 8Layer MC Glass f2.0
- Body Construction 100% Anodized PrecipitationHardened Aluminum
- Camera Dimensions & Weight 80 x 70 x 65 mm, 480 gr
- 3.1 x 2.7 x 2.5 inches, 17 oz
STITCHING BOX SPEC
- Processor Intel CPU & Nvidia GeForce GPU
- Storage 120GB M.2 SSD
- Ports 1 x Mic, 1 x Headset, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Dual Gigabit LAN, 1 x
- WiFi 802.11ac/b/g/n with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
SMARTPHONE & GEARVR DIRECTOR APP
- Viewport framerate 90 fps
- Video framerate 30 fps