Google Announces New 'Jump' Camera, 'Jump Start' Program

Google introduced Jump Video in 2015 to make it easier to create 360-degree 3D content for VR. Now the company has announced a new Jump camera, dubbed the Yi Halo, as well as a Jump Start program that will offer free access to Jump hardware and software to select filmmakers.

Yi Halo was designed by Google and Yi Technology. The device is equipped with 17 cameras that record at up to 4K resolution, a battery that lasts for 100 minutes of continuous shooting, and compatibility with an Android app that can be used as a remote control or live preview tool.

Here's what Google said about the Yi Halo in its announcement:

Filmmakers’ visions come together via the Jump Assembler, which ensures seamless, artifact-free stitches that are ready in a few short hours. The YI HALO camera has been built to natively work with the Assembler. “The camera combined with the stitching algorithm is the best 360 video solution in the industry," said Jay Spangler, Executive VR Producer for Two Bit Circus.

You can find the Yi Halo's specs on Yi Technology's website. The camera is expected to debut in late summer; neither Google nor Yi Technology have offered any details about the Yi Halo's pricing or where it can be purchased.

Pricing won't be a concern for the filmmakers selected for the new Jump Start program, though. Google said it will give more than 100 filmmakers "free access to a Jump camera and free unlimited use of the Jump Assembler" so they can "make their vision a reality." If you're interested in making 360-degree 3D videos, you can apply for Jump Start between now and May 22 via the program's website. (You can also find out if you're eligible for the program to being with.)

Google said on the application form that submissions will be judged on three areas:

Originality: Is your project a new idea?Compelling VR narrative: Is your project a good fit for the VR medium?Feasibility of the project: Is this project even possible?

You won't get to hold on to the Jump camera forever--Google said the selected filmmakers will receive the cameras on a two-month loan. You will be offered unlimited access to the Jump Assembler, however, so you only have to finish your shooting in that two-month period. Edits and publication can take longer.

Google's announcement comes soon after Insta360 opened pre-orders for the Insta360 Pro, which can also be used to create 360-degree 3D videos, and which can capture video at up to 8K resolutions. (Not simultaneously; the maximum resolution for 360-degree 3D content is 6K.) Jump's big differentiator is the Jump Assembler, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to stitch together video from multiple cameras without a loss of resolution. This allows for a more immersive experience that, at least in 2015, offered the best 360-degree 3D videos we've seen.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • bit_user
    With 16 lenses, I'm hoping this is a true 3D camera. The stereo baseline will still be too small to move your head and see behind anything, but at least there should be a sense of near vs. far objects.