Nokia failed in the smartphone market thanks to its inability to catch up with competitors; the Finnish company is hoping not to do the same in the virtual reality market.
First teased back in July, Nokia has officially revealed its professional virtual reality camera, dubbed OZO.
Currently camera systems used to produce VR content have relied on software stitching together individual cameras to create a 360° image. Nokia’s solution is far more elegant than that however, as the OZO is purpose-built to capture 360° video, as well as audio.
Given then £40,000 price tag, Nokia’s OZO is not going to be a mass-market device like some of the company’s former mobile phones, but the Finns are hoping to create a new standard for recording VR content. Nokia hopes that the OZO will be put to use recording everything from sporting events, films, news, music and pretty much anything that would look good on a VR device.
Inside the spherical design of the OZO are eight cameras, each recording at 2K x 2K resolution. That’s not what is special about the OZO’s design however; in fact, the beauty of this VR set-up is the placement of the cameras which allows full 360 x 180° recording, with a global shutter that eradicates any of the artefacts often associated with a rolling shutter.
Alongside the eight cameras are eight microphones recording the full surroundings of the OZO cameras. The eight microphones should make the recordings even more realistic, as the sound produced is an almost perfect picture of the sound present in the room. Everything from elevation to exact angle the sound was coming from can be captured.
Virtual reality technology is set to be big business in the years to come, with consumer devices from Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Sony all set to launch in the next few years. Nokia is hoping to give content creators the tools to produce content for those devices, rather than launch a mass-market VR viewer.
Those tools include the ability to capture video at 30fps, an f/2.4 aperture lens, 195° angle of view and a 500GB solid state drive capable of handling 45 minutes of footage.
Controlling the OZO is done via a third party device running either Mac OS X or Windows. The camera is controlled over Wi-Fi but there is also HDMI and stereoscopic VR render outputs. Final footage is rendered at 8K x 10K with 10-bit sRGB colour.
Nokia has confirmed that the OZO is just the first release in a new product category from the Finnish company. It has not revealed details about what the future will hold however.
As for the OZO, alongside the £40,000 camera, a range of accessories will be available including a digital cartridge with a battery pack and media module costing £3,000, a docking station costing £1,000 and a 500GB media module costing £1,600. Other accessories including an OZO carbon cover, camera handle and tripod adapters will be launched in due course.
Nokia’s OZO should begin shipping in Q1 2016 with pre-orders beginning today.