Jaunt's latest virtual reality camera says goodbye to GoPros

For years, Jaunt has been experimenting with ways to record video for virtual reality. It’s tried spherical cameras built with dozens of off-the-shelf lenses. It’s tried using multiple GoPro cameras pointed in different directions to capture a 360-degree field of view. In its latest attempt, it’s building its own camera from the ground up.

Named the Neo, the camera is the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s fifth generation of hardware and is intended for professional use. Along with having a more refined design (earlier Jaunt cameras resembled a large ball with 32 cameras jutting out at all angles), the rig also ditches GoPros in favor of a custom Jaunt camera.

“Until now, we’d been working with off-the-shelf cameras like GoPros, but we’ve had issues with it,” said Jaunt’s director of hardware engineering, Koji Gardiner. “We’ve had issues with sync, the image quality isn’t great and we’ve had problems with control. GoPros aren’t built for VR capture. When you build a system with GoPros, it’s kind of hacked together.”

To solve the problem, Jaunt designed its own camera from the ground up with VR capture in mind.

The camera records in high resolution with sensors to detect low light. All the cameras are synced to start and stop recording at the same time. Directors can preview what the camera sees.

Consumers hoping to get their hands on the camera are out of luck, though, because Jaunt is partnering only with professional filmmakers and lending its camera to creatives and film production companies — for now.

The camera will be available starting in August, shortly after GoPro’s own virtual reality filming rig — built on 16 GoPro cameras and also touted as a better solution to “hacked together” VR rigs — is expected to roll out.

Twitter: @traceylien

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