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Introducing Google’s Next-Generation VR Camera

The Yi Halo has 17 lenses and costs $17,000.

Google has officially unveiled their next generation Jump camera — the Yi Halo. Announced at the NAB conference in Las Vegas Monday, the Xiaomi-backed Yi has partnered with Google to bring a new professional camera to the market with some much needed improvements.

The Yi Halo is a $16,999 17-camera rig capable of shooting stereoscopic video in 8K resolution at 30 frames per second, or 5.8K at 60 frames per second. Weighing in at less than 8 pounds with an internal battery that will give you 100 minutes of continues shooting, the Yi Halo was built to work natively with Jump. The Jump Assembler is Google’s high-end VR creation platform launched back in 2015 that lets you send footage to Google servers and wait as all the high-resolution imagery gets stitched together.

Yi Halo goes on sale this Summer and is Google’s second collaboration with a camera maker to create a Jump-enabled system. Google first introduced a 16-camera VR rig utilizing GoPro action cameras that was dubbed Odyssey. Where the Odyssey was more a plastic housing system for GoPro cameras, the Yi Halo is a commercially designed camera that looks to have some significant improvements over its predecessor.

For one thing, the Yi Halo adds a 17th camera to the top of the rig in order to capture a more complete 360-degree picture when shooting. Even though the resolution tops out at 8K like the GoPro Odyssey, the Yi Halo’s ability to shoot 5.8K at 60 frames per second is a unique feature that will have some filmmakers excited. Filmmakers can also download the YI HALO Android app that doubles as a remote control and live preview tool.

During the Monday’s NAB Yi Halo announcement, Google also introduced a new program called Jump Start that aims to get Jump cameras into the hands of 100 creators. Jump Start gives selected filmmakers both free access to a Jump camera and unlimited use of the Jump Assembler. Applications to Jump Start open today, and filmmakers have until May 22nd to apply.

The Yi Halo wasn’t the only 360-degree camera announced by Yi. Unrelated to the Jump camera, Yi unveiled a $399 Yi 360 VR camera that can capture 360-degree video at 30 frames per second in 5.7K resolution. This is slightly higher resolution than GoPro’s Fusion camera announced last week and we can probably also assume a lower price as well. We’ll have to wait and see how the Yi 360 VR camera holds up, but it’s apparent that competition is heating up between the two companies in the space.

We can likely see both the Yi Halo and Yi 360 VR camera make its way to the US before being sold in China.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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