Google looks to GoPro to get Jump 360-degree camera array ready for our VR future

Complementing Google's Cardboard VR headset and YouTube's support for 360-degree VR video, filmmakers will have a camera array rig for virtual-reality video creation.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman

For virtual reality to really take off, it's going to need content. Google has an answer for that: Jump.

Jump is Google's new platform intended to help filmmakers start creating 360-degree virtual-reality videos to be uploaded to YouTube and viewed on Google's Cardboard VR headset.

For shooting the video, there's the Jump camera rig, a circular array of 16 cameras. According to Google, the rig's size and camera arrangement are optimized to work with the Jump assembler.

The Jump assembler is the computational powerhouse that will convert the high-resolution video clips into one, so that you and I can be immersed in whatever we're viewing. As you might imagine, seamlessly stitching together 16 separate pieces of video is no easy task.

James Martin/CNET

Google enlisted action cam maker GoPro to help get the project off the ground. The partnership has resulted in a Jump-ready 360-degree camera array that holds 16 GoPro Hero4 cameras positioned vertically to shoot stereoscopic VR video. The rig allows all of the cameras to act as one, keeping the cameras recording in sync as well as maintaining common settings across them.

No pricing was announced, but Google said videos shot with the rigs will be available for viewing on YouTube starting this summer (though you can get a taste in the video below by dragging around your cursor or finger on a touchscreen). If you're interested in learning more, you can sign up on Google Cardboard site.

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