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Google introduces next-gen Jump VR camera rig ‘YI HALO’

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CIOL Google introduces Yi Halo, a next-gen Jump VR camera rig

Back in 2015, Google launched Jump, a VR platform that uses cloud-based software and smart stitching algorithms to make 360-video creation a lot easier. The tech giant is now expanding its hardware efforts with the release of the next-gen 360 VR camera setup — YI HALO.

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Developed in partnership with Chinese Go Pro-competitor Yi Technologies, the device was announced at the NAB conference in Las Vegas, and is mounted with 17 4K action cameras with a price tag of $16,999.

The core idea of Jump is to encourage VR filmmaking by removing some of the biggest barriers. Google provides general blueprints for the ringed camera rig as well as server space for stitching all the high-resolution imagery together, and then gets to kick back while hardware companies and filmmakers create content to fill its budding Daydream VR platform.

The gigantic camera setup is capable of shooting 8K stereoscopic video at 30 frames per second (fps) or 5.8K at 60 frames per second. It has been designed to generate 8K x 8K stereoscopic VR content, as well as 6K x 6K content. The filmmakers will be provided with a host of other features and options such as ISO, white balance and low colour mode.

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Sean Da, CEO of Yi Technology said, "Virtual reality provides incredible new opportunities for creators. But it also poses a whole new level of challenges. To truly meet the promise of VR, the image quality, capture and stitching needs to match the immersive experience."

He further added, "To be truly active, you have to be able to shoot when and however you want, from many points of view, and without worrying about losing power; and you have to know it will just work, in your control, now and in the future."

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Keeping the needs of filmmakers in mind, Yi Halo introduces an additional 17th 4K camera that is looking straight up, enabling users to capture the sky.

"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 work with the Assembler natively," the company said.

The Jump Assembler takes the video from all of the cameras and seamlessly stitches them together in a few hours. After stitching, the stereoscopic video resolution can be as high as 8,192x8,192 at 30 or 25fps. But if faster frame rates are needed, resolution can be dropped to 5.8K (5,760x5,760 pixels) at 60fps.

The 17-camera monster rig is expected to go on sale in the coming summer season. Also, over the next year, Google will give free access to a Jump camera and unlimited use of the Jump Assembler to more than 100 select filmmakers through a new Jump Start program.

The interested ones can apply until May 22.

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