GoPro goes all-in on VR but a winning hand

April 8, 2016 - photo frame


Flat video is so final century and GoPro is pulling out all a stops. Through a array of product launches — many recently a new Omni — a association signals that it has your behind in a conflict opposite bi-dimensional consumption of relocating pictures. The plan confirms a apparent — i.e. that it knows that approach a breeze is blowing. But we consider it’s too little, too late.

All in on 360 video

With a new Omni, we can mix a energy of 6 HERO4 Black cameras to fire full 360 grade video; ideal for immersive video experiences, VR and photometry use cases.

GoPro Odyssey

GoPro Odyssey

Omni was initial announced at CES progressing this year, though is being demoed live for a initial time during a NAB discussion in Vegas in a integrate of weeks — one of a biggest shows in video and multimedia calm production.

Full-surround systems for GoPro are not a new thing — there have been utterly a few attempts to fibre together a ton of a GoPro cameras to emanate camera arrays.

GoPro itself has been compelling its GoPro Spherical solutions over a past year, too, with special channels dedicated to its GoPro VR pack on YouTube and some-more round video featured on a Facebook page, as well.

Not a initial VR rodeo

Last year, a association announced a partnership with Google’s Jump height in a form of a GoPro Odyssey. The device looks voluptuous as all sky (if you’re into that arrange of thing). It comes with no fewer than 16 GoPro cameras and a bank-breaking $15,000 cost tag. Obviously, a aim assembly veers deep into dilettante markets that need stereoscopic 360 video (the Omni “only” does monoscopic video).

If spending $15,000 on a approximate video pack doesn’t fill we with tingly sensations, there’s also been a other extreme: Building your own. There are a lot of skeleton and guides accessible online for how to 3D imitation or build your possess rigs out of metal, timber or perspex — with some solutions being some-more elegant than others. The problem with these solutions has been a synchronization between a cameras, both in terms of support rate (ensuring that any camera is sharpened video frames during a same time during accurately a same series of frames per second) and fixing (making certain a cameras are practiced just so to emanate a seamless 360-degree knowledge is an practice in fine-engineering or some severely hard-core post-processing efforts).

Plans and CAD drawings for DIY, 3D printed rigs have been accessible for a while, such as this chronicle of a “360 Video GoPro rig” by Friloba

Does GoPro make clarity in a swarming market?

GoPro has kept a parsimonious lid on a pricing and accessibility of Omni, though given that 6 GoPros on their possess will set we behind around $3,000 — and a fact that a allied supply already exists for around $600 — it’s reasonable to design a cost tab of around $3,500 for a full kit, including cameras. If we already have a ton of GoPro cameras kicking about, you’ll be means to save some money by shopping a Omni pack though a cameras, too.

Samsung is going large on VR, too, with Google Street View concordant cinema spawned by a Gear 360 camera

Samsung is going large on VR, too, with Google Street View concordant cinema spawned by a Gear 360 camera

While it is sparkling that it’s probable to use these relatively high-quality GoPro cameras for VR purposes, we can’t assistance though consternation either it competence be too little, too late; there are a lot of other VR cameras in a marketplace already, with some-more being launched on an almost-weekly basis. GoPro is going to be feeling a vigour from all sides.

The bottom finish of a 360-degree-video market is well-served by determined players like Ricoh’s Theta S, Pananasonic’s 360 Fly, Kodak’s SP360 movement camera and Samsung’s Gear 360.

Got $150K handy? This 42-camera supply will give we a gigapixel value of resolution. Woof.

In further to a incumbents, there are a horde of smaller startups, including a $800 Bublcam, a arriving $1,000 Vuze camera, a $500 Allie Home camera, Sphericam’s $3,000 second-generation 360 camera and Giroptic’s $500 360cam.

What all these cameras have in common is that they are all-in-one solutions that broach video that’s prepared to use. That creates them vastly easier and faster in a prolongation environment: they don’t have a hurdles fundamental in multi-camera setups, and a operators won’t need to collect several memory cards, sync, tack and describe a video before it’s prepared for editing.

GoPro is going to be feeling a vigour on the high finish as well. You can simply spend $150,000 on a high-end off-the-shelf 360-degree video rig, and if you’re going a custom-built route, a sky is a limit: There are plenty of experts in Hollywood who will build anything we want. None of that competence sound like a loyal challenger — $150,000 is a lot some-more than $4,500 — though a law is that there are most some-more affordable solutions accessible — and they are dropping in cost rapidly.

Squeezed from all sides

Using a 6 4k cameras in an Omni supply will give we a lot some-more fortitude to play with than an all-in-one camera, and a product may only strike a honeyed mark for a fast expanding VR video crowd, though in fixation itself in this accurate place in a market, a association is putting itself in a unequivocally frightful place indeed: Not entry-level adequate for mainstream, and not high-end adequate for professionals.

The problem GoPro is confronting is that they haven’t finished anything innovative in a prolonged time. The cameras are good enough, and apropos synonymous with movement cameras won’t have finished their sales any harm, though during a heart of it, GoPro is radically offered commodity hardware during a extensive markup. Sales total — and its analogous batch price hurdles — are revelation a story all its own.

Going after a VR marketplace seems shrewd; it is a hottest thing in tech, and has been for a small while. There is some marketplace fit as well: There is a sub-section of VR that is associated to a movement sports market, that is good news for a company, though we doubt a once-mighty GoPro code can save them here.

Without a story of creation on a camera side (Hero Session doesn’t count), and no evidence of a high-quality all-in-one fortitude in a pipeline, GoPro is between a stone and a tough place. The cheaper, easier all-in-one cameras are a convincing hazard for many use cases, and as peculiarity (and generally resolution) improves, fortifying a multi-camera set-up is going to get harder and harder. Simultaneously, a high-end multi-camera solutions will be dropping in price, and turn a good alternative for users who are personification a peculiarity über alles game.

Launching a six-camera setup supply like a Omni is a ballsy move, I’ll give them that, though we can’t assistance though feel that this is a short-term play in a long-term industry. It might assistance a small bit, though in sequence to tarry in this market, they’d improved have something distant some-more considerable adult their sleeve, and soon.

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