GoPro goes all-in on VR with no profitable hand

GoPro goes all-in on VR without a winning hand

Flat video is so final century and GoPro is pulling out all of the stops. Via a collection of product launches — most lately the brand new Omni — the corporate alerts that it has your again within the battle towards bi-dimensional consumption of shifting footage. The technique confirms the apparent — i.e. that it is aware of which method the wind is blowing. However I feel it’s too little, too late.

All in on 360 video

With the brand new Omni, you possibly can mix the facility of six HERO4 Black cameras to shoot full 360 diploma video; good for immersive video experiences, VR and photometry use instances.

GoPro goes all-in on VR without a winning hand

GoPro Odyssey

Omni was first introduced at CES earlier this yr, however is being demoed reside for the primary time on the NAB convention in Vegas in a few weeks — one of many largest exhibits in video and multimedia content material manufacturing.

Full-encompass methods for GoPro are usually not a brand new factor — there have been fairly a couple of makes an attempt to string collectively a ton of the GoPro cameras to create digital camera arrays.

GoPro itself has been selling its GoPro Spherical options over the previous yr, too, with particular channels devoted to its GoPro VR package on YouTube and extra spherical video featured on its Fb web page, as properly.

Not the primary VR rodeo

Final yr, the corporate introduced a partnership with Google’s Bounce platform within the type of the GoPro Odyssey. The gadget appears attractive as all heaven (should you’re into that type of factor). It comes with no fewer than sixteen GoPro cameras and a financial institution-breaking $15,000 price ticket. Clearly, the audience veers deep into specialist markets that require stereoscopic 360 video (the Omni “solely” does monoscopic video).

If spending $15,000 on a encompass video package doesn’t fill you with tingly sensations, there’s additionally been the opposite excessive: Constructing your personal. There are a whole lot of plans and guides obtainable on-line for learn how to 3D print or construct your personal rigs out of metallic, wooden or perspex — with some options being extra elegant than others. The issue with these options has been the synchronization between the cameras, each when it comes to body fee (making certain that every digital camera is capturing video frames on the similar time at precisely the identical variety of frames per second) and alignment (ensuring the cameras are adjusted simply so to create a seamless 360-diploma expertise is an train in high-quality-engineering or some critically onerous-core submit-processing efforts).

GoPro goes all-in on VR without a winning hand

Plans and CAD drawings for DIY, 3D printed rigs have been out there for some time, comparable to this model of a “360 Video GoPro rig” by Friloba

Does GoPro make sense in a crowded market?

GoPro has stored a decent lid on the pricing and availability of Omni, however provided that six GoPros on their very own will set you again round $three,000 — and the truth that a comparable rig already exists for round $600 — it’s affordable to anticipate a price ticket of round $three,500 for the complete package, together with cameras. If you have already got a ton of GoPro cameras kicking about, you’ll have the ability to avoid wasting money by shopping for the Omni package with out the cameras, too.

GoPro goes all-in on VR without a winning hand

Samsung goes massive on VR, too, with Google Road View suitable footage spawned by its Gear 360 digital camera

Whereas it’s thrilling that it’s potential to make use of these comparatively excessive-high quality GoPro cameras for VR functions, I can’t assist however ponder whether it is perhaps too little, too late; there are loads of different VR cameras within the market already, with extra being launched on an virtually-weekly foundation. GoPro goes to be feeling the strain from all sides.

The underside finish of the 360-diploma-video market is nicely-served by established gamers like Ricoh’s Theta S, Pananasonic’s 360 Fly, Kodak’s SP360 motion digital camera and Samsung’s Gear 360.

GoPro goes all-in on VR without a winning hand

Acquired $150K useful? This forty two-digital camera rig will provide you with a gigapixel value of decision. Woof.

Along with the incumbents, there are a number of smaller startups, together with the $800 Bublcam, the upcoming $1,000 Vuze digital camera, the $500 Allie House digital camera, Sphericam’s $three,000 second-era 360 digital camera and Giroptic’s $500 360cam.

What all these cameras have in widespread is that they’re all-in-one options that ship video that’s prepared to make use of. That makes them vastly simpler and quicker in a manufacturing setting: they don’t have the challenges inherent in multi-digital camera setups, and its operators gained’t want to gather a number of reminiscence playing cards, sync, sew and render the video earlier than it’s prepared for modifying.

GoPro goes to be feeling the strain on the excessive finish as nicely. You’ll be able to simply spend $one hundred fifty,000 on a excessive-finish off-the-shelf 360-diploma video rig, and in the event you’re going the customized-constructed route, the sky is the restrict: There are loads of specialists in Hollywood who will construct something you need. None of which may sound like a real challenger — $one hundred fifty,000 is much more than $four,500 — however the fact is that there are rather more reasonably priced options obtainable — and they’re dropping in worth quickly.

Squeezed from all sides

Utilizing the six 4k cameras in an Omni rig provides you with much more decision to play with than an all-in-one digital camera, and the product may hit the candy spot for the quickly increasing VR video crowd, however in putting itself on this actual place out there, the corporate is placing itself in a very scary place certainly: Not entry-degree sufficient for mainstream, and never excessive-finish sufficient for professionals.

The issue GoPro is dealing with is that they haven’t accomplished something progressive in a very long time. The cameras are good sufficient, and turning into synonymous with motion cameras gained’t have completed their gross sales any hurt, however on the coronary heart of it, GoPro is actually promoting commodity hardware at an incredible markup. Gross sales figures — and its corresponding inventory worth challenges — are telling a narrative all its personal.

Going after the VR market appears shrewd; it’s the hottest factor in tech, and has been for a short while. There’s some market match as nicely: There is a sub-part of VR that’s associated to the motion sports activities market, which is sweet information for the corporate, however I doubt the as soon as-mighty GoPro model can save them right here.

With no historical past of innovation on the digital camera aspect (Hero Session doesn’t rely), and no proof of a excessive-high quality all-in-one answer within the pipeline, GoPro is between a rock and a tough place. The cheaper, easier all-in-one cameras are a reputable menace for a lot of use instances, and as high quality (and particularly decision) improves, defending a multi-digital camera set-up goes to get more durable and more durable. Concurrently, the excessive-finish multi-digital camera options might be dropping in worth, and turn out to be an excellent various for customers who’re enjoying the standard über alles recreation.

Launching a six-digital camera setup rig just like the Omni is a ballsy transfer, I’ll give them that, however I can’t assist however really feel that this can be a brief-time period play in an extended-time period business. It might assist slightly bit, however with a purpose to survive on this market, they’d higher have one thing much more spectacular up their sleeve, and shortly.