It’s no secret that GoPro needs to make a splash on its next action camera release. The bottom of its pricing has completely fallen out as the popular electronics maker has reduced the size of its lineup by 50%. While it does have a new quadcopter in the works, GoPro is currently focusing on another area of interest for its cameras: virtual reality.
After first teasing a new VR rig in February, we’re now getting our first in-depth look at the Omni spherical array. It is designed for six HERO4 Black Action Cameras with “pixel-level synchronization” across each device. Whoa. The question is, do we need it?
GoPro’s Omni Virtual Reality rig is both simple in design and complex in features. One thing is for sure, it’s much more straight forward than the 16-camera Odyssey setup that YouTube is backing. Of course, that’s a budget busting $15,000 and not a likely candidate for most videographers.
Omni uses a total of six GoPro Black cameras to capture footage in 360-degrees. You’re looking at an investment of $3,000 (list price) on the optics alone before the price of the rig is even considered. Unfortunately, GoPro has yet to detail the MSRP on its new VR kit so we’re unable to put a total price tag together today. But it will surely be a fraction of the Odyssey. If we had to put an educated guess on it today, $3,800 out the door feels like a starting point.
The mount itself provides six locations for cameras to rest with lens holders for each individual device. It’s unclear if the there is an upgraded optic built-in the rig at this time but a wider range of view, similar to fisheye, would make sense for this application. There also appears to be a built-in power supply that would provide a long battery life for the cameras, which would be a welcome addition.
Of course, there are third-party virtual reality rigs on the market that offer unofficial GoPro support. However, these products aren’t the most refined, so we’d tread lightly before jumping into something like this with a couple thousand dollars worth of equipment.
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