It’s not the biggest price cut in history but slashing the price of your gadget by $15,000 is still admirable. Nokia’s 3D Ozo Virtual Reality Camera is on sale for 25% off its original $60,000 price tag. The gadget is also launching in China this September. The Ozo was released earlier this year in March as art of Nokia’s new digital media business. It was meant to be the first in a long line of products that would signal growth for the former mobile phone giant that now mainly develops telecoms network equipment.
The Ozo features 8 cameras and microphones that maybe used to film 3D video to be watched through Virtual Reality headsets like the Google Cardboard or the Oculus Rift. The eight cameras all sit atop a 2K x 2K sensor and provide a 360 degree by 180 degree viewing angle. They shoot video at 30 fps with a base sensitivity of ISO 400. The microphones capture multi-directional sound, giving the impression of a true 3D environment. Included in the package is a video editing suite designed specifically for the footage the camera takes. It’s a nice little add on that truly should be there when you’re paying top dollar.
The Ozo has been pitched by Nokia Technologies President Ramzi Haidamus as a professional tool for film making much like the Arri Alexa or RED line of cameras. He anticipates that Camera rental houses will be the number one market for the gadget. While Nokia hasn’t released sales figures yet, the official word is that the camera has been selling much better than expected. Early interest had already been generated by the early adopters program which originally provided the device at $45,000 and now that the operation has been “scaled up”, it has become permanent.
The Ozo was already available in the US and Europe but is being launched in China this September, hence the price cut. According to Ozo head of presence capture Guido Voltolina, the VR market in China is exploding and it might overtake its equivalent in North America next year. New firms are offering ecosystems for content creation and investing in the technology. On top of that, the traditional film market in China is also on a growth pattern that might trump the US boxoffice; all the more reason to release the Ozo there. In fact, Nokia is planning to partner up with Chinese company LeEco, whose film division, LeVision is producing the Matt Damon starrer, “The Great Wall”. LeEco will be distributing Ozo content through its LeVR division.
In China, the VR market is more concentrated on democratizing hardware and software, even to those that can’t afford it. VR cafes have popped up in many places while the US lags behind. Just two weeks ago, the first North American Initiative to have standalone VR stations in movie theatres, lobbies and malls was announced by Awesome Rocketship. And overall, the 360 degree VR videos online and for promotional events have been just that. There aren’t any real initiatives to bring this technology forward in to true film making.