Google not only sells VR headsets like Cardboard and Daydream View, it also helps to develop and sell virtual reality cameras as well to professionals. Today, the company revealed its next-generation Jump VR camera, the Yi Halo, which will be priced at $16,999.
Google’s first Jump camera, the Odyssey, was made by GoPro. It was announced nearly two years ago at Google I/O 2015, but only started shipping in May 2016 for the price of $16,000. The new Yi Halo camera is being made in collaboration with Yi Technology, which is backed by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. While the GoPro-made Odyssey had 16 cameras set up in a 360-degree ring, the Yi Halo has 17 cameras. The first 16 are still in a ring, but the 17th camera is placed on top, with the lens pointed up, so that any 360 degree videos made with it can also get an accurate view when a person looks up with his or her VR headset.
Google says the Yi Halo can create 8K videos at 30 fps, or 6K videos at 60 fps, with the camera’s battery designed to last up to 100 minutes. Even with all of that equipment, the rig itself only weighs 7.5 pounds, so it’s also extremely portable. Google’s Jump Assembler software is integrated into the Yi Halo, so that the footage from all 17 cameras can be combined seamlessly into one 360-degree video. The camera will come with an Android app that can serve as a remote control for the device. The Yi Halo is scheduled to go on sale later this summer.
Google is also launching a program called Jump Start, which is designed to help VR filmmakers get access to the company’s technology. The program will pick 100 of those filmmakers, who will get a free camera, and free unlimited use of the Jump Assembler. Filmmakers can apply to be considered for the program at Google’s website from now until May 22.