Google launched Jump, a platform for VR video, back at its developer conference in May -- along with a slightly bonkers camera rig called Odyssey co-designed with GoPro. Today, prospective content creators can put their name down to get early access to the hardware (pictured after the break), which GoPro tells us is only available in limited quantity. Google already did something similar, but this time the scheme appears to be specifically aimed at professional partners. We also get to know a little bit more about the rig, including its cost: an eye-watering (at least for us amateurs) $15,000.
What do you get for your money? Well, 16 GoPros for starters (that accounts for $8,000 of the Odyssey's cost at the camera's $500 retail price). The rest of the package includes connectivity mounts ("bacpacs") for each camera, cables, memory cards, a pelican case and (of course) the cylindrical Odyssey rig itself. Once combined, the rig will shoot 2.7K video in 4:3 aspect ratio. It is, of course, all about the 360-degree/3D experience, and Google with GoPro hopes that Odyssey can raise the bar in terms of immersive video quality.
In addition to the hardware, the Jump platform includes a video "assembler" that stitches all the files together to create one seamless globe, and then, of course a player on YouTube which will include support for viewing via Cardboard in stereoscopic/3D, or regular "flat" viewing via desktop or YouTube app (without Cardboard). You can see the Odyssey in action via the video below (desktop users can view in Chrome, and "look around" using the ASWD keys).
GoPro tells us the need for 16 cameras comes down to the specification of Jump (Google), and the assembler software. For those curious, all those cameras combined provide an output at 2K x 2K over/under (rather than side-by-side) panoramic MPEG4 video at 150Mbit/s or 8K x 8K at 600Mbit/s according to GoPro's spec-sheet.
Odyssey is separate from GoPro's own spherical video solution that only uses six cameras, which hopefully will make it more accessible when it finally becomes available. GoPro bought Kolor, a panoramic video company back in April, one month prior to Jump's announcement. No doubt the camera-maker will be keen to make use of that new software with its own VR and immersive video, hopefully at a more amateur-friendly price point.
If you're interested in early access to Odyssey, you can apply to be involved here, as long as you're based in U.S., Canada, UK, the EU, Japan, or Brazil (or at least, can pretend you are).