Starting today, your GoPro edits are going to become that much more dynamic as the action camera giant has just started shipping its Omni 360 spherical virtual reality setup. It’s available as a full kit which includes six GoPro Hero4 Black cameras, smart remote, 7-USB/6-MicroSD card reader, and Extern Switronix Hypercore battery or a ‘rig only’ option if you already own six cameras.
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The 120mm x 120mm x 120mm cube uses six cameras carefully arranged end to end and is more than just a glorified mount as GoPro says the Omni allows the cameras to act as one. One nominated ‘primary camera’ is used to control every function of the other five, including starting and stopping recording.
With the six Hero4 Black cameras filming at once the Omni can output up to 8k resolution and can be used to ‘overcapture’ nonspherical videos with six camera angles, and edited into an HD video that jumps between perspectives
GoPro also says the Omni unit uses ‘pixel-level synchronization’ so that the footage is perfectly aligned for timing, movements, and hassle free stitching. It has even gone as far as to make it so the Omni will not allow you to shoot if all of the cameras are not on the same settings or if you forgot to put an SD card in one camera.
The Omni itself is made from an aluminium frame and has been designed to draw heat away from the cameras to prevent overheating — we’d guess the open air design plays a role in temperature control, too. GoPro also says the frame can withstand multiple drops and falls, and features modular panels and parts so they can be easily replaced should something be damaged.
As GoPro’s aren’t known for their battery life the Omni allows you to run the unit from the individual Hero4 Black batteries off or an external battery pack as well as what GoPro calls “battery ghosting” – allowing the whole thing to be powered with an external battery pack, with the individual camera’s batteries removed to reduce the amount of heat generated. With the external battery, the Omni is claimed to run for three hours of recording time; there’s no claim for the individual batteries.
Once you’ve got your footage, the Omni also comes with the Kolor software bundle which runs on Mac and PC and includes the Omni Importer auto-stitching software, and Autopano Video Pro which allows for further fine-tuning.
For the budding filmmaker who wants to get into the 360 virtual reality game, you’d better have deep pockets as the full kit is set to cost and eye-watering US$4,999.99 or US$1,499.99 for the rig only option. UK and AU pricing are not immediately available.