VideoStitch, the company behind the eponymous 360 post-production software suite, yesterday announced the launch of their first 360 camera, the Orah 4i. The all-in-one solution provides a 4k resolution image that can be automatically stitched and transmitted them live to VR headsets and video streaming platforms.
There have been an awful lot of 360 camera solutions targeting a wide range of demographics over the last few years, it’s a segment of immersive entertainment that has been latched onto quite quickly by both traditional media organisations and content producers alike.
Today, VideoStitch officially enters that fray with their all-in-one 360 video solution which provides in-line stitching for captured video content, allowing the device to offer live-streaming immersive video up to 4k resolution.
“Today is a big day for us,” says Nicolas Burtey, CEO and founder of Orah, “About one year ago we started to work on this ambitious project – a camera that can capture, stitch and stream full spherical 360 content live in high quality, just with the push of a button. Right now, this camera is on its way to professionals all over the US. Orah 4i will change the way 360 content is produced and enable completely new VR experiences. I cannot wait to see what our customers will be able to do with it.”
Road to VR’s Executive Editor Ben Lang experienced some of the footage taken with the Orah 4i himself at this year’s GTC 2016:
I got to see a functional build of VideoStich’s new camera up close. Although the unit isn’t yet sealed, it was fully functional, including livestreaming. I sat near the camera and put on a Gear VR headset. Inside, the scene was the same place as where I was, except from the camera’s viewpoint, and about 30 seconds delayed, which meant I actually saw myself come walking over, sit down in the chair, and put on the headset… it was oddly surreal, like looking back in time from a different vantage point.
That 30 second delay is dependent upon the streaming protocol. VideoStich CEO Nicolas Burtey showed me the camera view from the camera on his laptop, instead of through the headset, which had a delay closer to 10 seconds. This is all in line with typical live broadcast delays, Burtey said.
The quality of the video didn’t stand out as any better or worse than many of the monoscopic 360 rigs I’ve seen in the past, but that’s good given that the video is being stitched together and livestreamed wirelessly to my face within 30 seconds, whereas most of what I’ve seen elsewhere has the benefit if being played back locally. The stitching didn’t reveal any blatant seames.
Even if the quality is largely the same as other multi-lens 360 cameras of this sort, having it all together in this compact device surely beats dealing with a bunch of GoPros, and each of their cables and memory cards. The camera is powered over the same ethernet cord that sends its data to a processing box which handles the recording, stitching, and streaming of the data. Relying on a breakout box (which is actually a tiny PC running Linux) means the camera isn’t quite as compact and standalone as its sleek industrial design might have you believe, but it brings a level of flexibility and expandability that VideoStich’s target market (professional creators) will demand, like the option to connect a high-end professional sound capture card via USB.
The stitching box, which is bundled with the camera, can either hang directly on the tripod or be wired up to 300 ft via an ethernet cable—coincidentally the only port provided for data transfer from the camera to the mini-computer. CEO and founder Nicholas Burtey maintains that all Orah 4i cameras will come with the stitching box, however there is the future possibility that you’ll be able to buy a version without the stitching box unit so you can supply your own solution.
The solution can be pre-ordered now for $3,595 with Orah claiming they’ve already begun delivering the hardware to customers throughout November and pre-orders are expected to deliver “very quickly” although those outside the US may see a delay while VideoStitch “get legal clearance for your respective country”.
Orah 4i Camera Specs
- 4096×2048 H.264 High Profile (4K)
- 30 fps
- 4 Channel Ambisonic @ BFormat
- 100% anodized precipitation-hardened aluminum housing
- 80 x 70 x 65 mm 480g or 3.1 x 2.7 x 2.5 inches 17 oz
Orah 4i Stitching Box
- Intel CPU & Nvidia GeForce GPU
- Storage 120GB M.2 SSD
- Ports: Mic (1), Headset (1), USB 3.0 (4), USB 2.0 (2),
- Dual Gigabit LAN, WiFi 802.11ac/b/g/n with external antenna, Bluetooth 4.0
- 5 to 25 Mbps bitrate
- Included 48V POE Injector and RightAngle 6ft CAT6 Cable
Additional reporting for this piece provided by Scott Hayden and Benjamin Lang.