Confirming previous rumors regarding what Nokia was planning to unveil at its VIP press event this week, the company has announced that it is developing a virtual reality camera for the movie industry that can capture 360-degree panoramas.
As the BBC reports, the spherical OZO camera is equipped with eight lenses and eight microphones. This allows it to record 360 degrees of both stereoscopic 3D video and sound, creating true panoramas with accompanying audio.
The content that OZO creates can then be used with playback devices such as VR headsets. Users can look around to see the entire panorama and hear the sound change as they do so.
Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said:
“We’re thrilled to introduce OZO to the content creation world, and to define a completely new category of virtual reality capture and playback solutions. OZO aims to advance the next wave of innovation in VR by putting powerful tools in the hands of professionals who will create amazing experiences for people around the world.”
Filmmakers can view live footage of what the camera is seeing by connecting a VR headset. Captured content can be replayed very quickly after shooting, giving it an advantage over competitors.
VR expert Chris Green, a consultant at Davies Murphy Group, told the BBC that OZO could be the result of re-purposing some of Nokia’s established camera technologies that were developed for its Lumia smartphones before Microsoft bought its Devices & Services division. He said:
“Nokia has a great deal of experience developing not only camera technology, but also the portability of camera technology. The company was putting in high-end cameras on very small mobile phones and producing exceptional image results years before other manufacturers.”
Nokia Technologies has also announced a new partnership with VR production company Jaunt Inc.’s studio arm, Jaunt Studios. Although Jaunt already has its own virtual reality cameras, it will be making OZO available for use by filmmakers too.
OZO works with a range of third-party tools and is designed to integrate into existing production pipelines. It uses a standard tripod mount and outputs video in conventional formats that are ready to view in a VR headset or upload to YouTube.
Nokia says that OZO is the first product to launch from a “planned portfolio of digital media solutions.” The cameras will be built in Nokia’s home country, Finland, and should launch late this year after final testing has been completed.