Nokia announced OZO, a virtual reality video camera designed for professional content creators. The company said this is just the first device from a portfolio of planned digital media solutions that will be coming out of its advanced technology and licensing business, Nokia Technologies.
Nokia Technologies President, Ramzi Haidamus, said the company expects virtual reality to dramatically change the way people communicate experience entertainment. Nokia plans to be at the forefront of this shift, and it believes OZO will play a big part in that change.
OZO uses eight synchronized global shutter sensors equally spaced around a globe-like device. These cameras are used to record in stereoscopic 3D. For each camera, there is a microphone to complement it. Nokia said this enables spatially accurate sound.
Nokia is developing software to go along with OZO that will enable real-time 3D playback. Using the software, there is no need to stitch together panoramic shots. The playback software will handle this process in real-time.
Nokia said it has designed the OZO and accompanying software to integrate into existing professional third party tools to keep content production as simple as possible. Content recorded with OZO will be viewable on commercially available VR headsets.
OZO will undergo final testing and refinements with the help of Nokia's industry professional partners as the company prepares to manufacture OZO in Finland. Full specifications and prices will be released at a future date, though the company said it anticipates shipments to start before the end of the year.
Nokia's OZO camera isn't the first VR camera to be announced. Jaunt Inc. recently announced its own hardware. Google has Jump (which isn't really a camera, but an array of GoPros). There is also Sphericam, which recently completed a successful Kickstarter. The key difference between those devices and Nokia's OZO, though, is that OZO will be the first one that's commercially available.
Along with the announcement from Nokia, Jaunt Inc. has announced it is committed to supporting OZO. Jaunt is a Palo Alto-based VR production company that provides hardware and software for creating cinematic VR productions to content creators. The company has announced that it will be offering use of OZO at Jaunt Studios, and it will support content filmed on OZO through its post-production services. Cliff Plumer, President of Jaunt Studios, said the company will continue to support its own line of cameras as well as the best options others have to offer. He said this will "ensure content creators have access to the best tool for the job."