Watching virtual reality videos is easier than ever. YouTube's Virtual Reality Channel gives the public access to dozens of VR videos that put viewers inside sports games, space, nature, and several other settings. It's inexpensive too; these Google VR goggles only cost $15.
Unfortunately for filmmakers, creating virtual reality videos is neither easy nor inexpensive. It's a time-consuming endeavor that requires some pricey equipment. Google has been working on a camera that can make the process easier for everyone and inexpensive for a select few.
They've partnered with Yi Technology to create the YI HALO, which is a 3D 360-degree camera for Google's VR division called Jump. The device is outfitted with 17 4k cameras: 16 of them are placed around the rig in a circle and there's one on top. It weighs less than 8 pounds, has 100 minutes of battery life, and you can control it with an app on your phone.
(If you're reading this on the Komando.com app then click here to see a photo of the YI HALO camera.)
If you happen to have $17,000 then you can purchase the YI HALO in late summer. You have to "Register Your Interest," which means providing contact information and giving details about your past VR projects.
If you don't have $17,000 but you are a filmmaker interested in VR then you can apply to the Jump Start program. Over 100 filmmakers will get access to a Jump camera for two months and free unlimited use of the Jump Assembler, which stitches the video from the different cameras together. They are accepting applications through May 22 and the winners will be notified June 9.
VR videos provide an immersive visual experience because the action is all around you. To experience VR for yourself and to see what the YI HALO is capable of, watch the video below or click here. If you're watching on a laptop or desktop, be sure to click and drag different areas of the screen to change your perspective. If you're watching on a tablet or smartphone then tilt, pan, and walk around with your device to change your perspective.