A week ago, Nokia announced its little Nokia Technologies secret; the Nokia Ozo. After selling its mobile business to Microsoft in 2013, Nokia announced that it was focussing on its broadband infrastructure, mapping, and location intelligence. It all sounded a bit dreary in the wake of the devastation caused to the mobile giants by the iPhone’s soaring monopoly. But down in the basement, Nokia Technologies was concocting their next move.
The Ozo is boasted to be the first commercially available virtual reality camera, with its design focus (and price tag) aimed at professional content creators. The spherical orb captures stereoscopic 3D video alongside spatial audio through eight synchronised global shutter sensors and eight integrated microphones. This set up has been highly praised by the lucky few who sampled footage from the camera at its LA launch, particularly on the audio side which allows for sound output based on the direction of your gaze.
In the software category, the Ozo is designed to fit in with current trends and production. It is compatible with production software used at the moment, however also allows for real-time 3D viewing – likely to be a huge selling point due to the currently time consuming process of stitching panoramic images together. Though the video quality is slightly lower during this real time view, and some complain of discontinuity when switching between cameras, this is in no way a feature to ignore.
So it seems Nokia has cut its losses in the mobile market and turned its attention to jumping ahead of the bandwagon with its new technological division. Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies explained how the Ozo would “define a completely new category of virtual reality capture and playback solutions”, claiming that “with Ozo, we plan to be at the heart of this new [virtual reality] world”
The camera is high-end though. So don’t start storyboarding your VR masterpiece just yet as it is estimated to retail at a mid-five figure price tag. It is, however, exciting from a consumer point of view. Virtual reality experiences are becoming more and more commonplace in the entertainment industry. And you can be safe in your excitement, as Jaunt Studios (leading developer of hardware and software for cinematic VR) has committed to support Ozo by using it in its production and post-production phases.
Nokia’s got some competition though, as GoPro recently announced a spherical camera mount and a separate 16-camera system to be used alongside Google Jump to record immersive video. Given GoPro’s current market, it is likely that this set up will be aimed more at consumers, and hopefully for a more comprehensive price tag. Still, it’s an exciting step forward in a world that’s waking up to the smell of virtual reality, though there’s no word yet on whether Ozo will offer Snake.
Stay tuned to the Ozo website to view new videos and of the Ozo available today.