Nokia Enters VR Race With OZO Camera

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nokia Next In Line to Build A Virtual-Reality Camera.

Former smartphone giant Nokia made an interesting announcement earlier today — it’s getting into the virtual reality (VR) game with the new Ozo camera. HELSINKI (AP) — Nokia says it’s launching a virtual reality camera that will be able to capture three-dimensional video designed for professional content creators.

Nokia introduced a virtual-reality camera called Ozo late Tuesday, aiming to become the first company to actually sell a professional camera capable of capturing 3D VR video. Sporting eight synchronized shutter sensors and eight microphones to create stereoscopic three-dimensional video, the Ozo is scheduled to launch later this year. The Finnish company says that specially designed software enables real-time 3D viewing on hardware such as headsets with full 360-degree imaging and spatially accurate original sound, “capturing true presence.” Nokia, which developed the product at its R&D center in Finland, presented the camera to major studios, production houses, media and technology companies in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and said it will conduct further tests with “industry professionals” before the camera’s commercial release. However, ahead of that, the Finnish tech titan has taken to Tongal, a platform used by brands to tap the filmmaking community, to ask indie filmmakers to submit their proposals for a short film that demonstrates the capabilities of the Ozo camera.

The camera is part of a full-blown production solution, allowing filmmakers to review footage in real-time and export video that has been properly stitched together with little delay. Founded out of Santa Monica in 2009, Tongal is basically a crowdsourcing platform for brands to access creatives, including writers, directors, and production companies. It’s the company’s initial product for what it sees as a broad push into immersive media, which enables people wearing special headsets to rotate to watch nearly 360 degrees of a filmed or animated scene.

Through its project, Nokia says it’s looking for help “defining what’s possible” in the VR medium, while leaving “any hangups to linear storytelling at the door.” Nokia is pretty much giving creatives a blank canvas to see what they can come up with there. Nokia is billing its Ozo camera as the first high-quality device to be designed for shooting virtual reality cinema, and it’s planning to sell it for thousands of dollars to professionals. Nokia isn’t the only company looking to build a VR recording solution: Samsung teased such a camera at its developer conference last year, but has released no new information about the project since.

It’s likely to face competition from camera companies, including GoPro, which recently showed off a system to capture 360-degree videos. “We believe we can make this an incredible, successful adventure for all of us … to bring amazing stories to life,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, told a few dozen Hollywood executives sipping wine at the event. Google announced a relatively low-cost system consisting of 16 GoPro cameras at its own developer conference this year, and job ads suggest that the search company may even be building a full-blown VR camera system. In the end, there may be more than one winner: Some of these companies may build more affordable rigs for YouTubers looking to explore VR, while others prepare themselves for Hollywood to spend big bucks. Jaunt, a start-up that’s been at the forefront of making virtual reality films and editing software, is partnering with Nokia to be an early adopter.

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