Virtual reality startup Jaunt is getting ready to build its own camera. Jaunt announced a new series of camera systems code-named Neo Tuesday that promises 360-degree high dynamic range video capture for cinematic virtual reality (VR) experiences.
Jaunt has been in the business of producing cinematic VR since 2013. But up until now, it has used custom rigs made from off-the-shelf cameras and 3-D printed components to capture VR video, which has had a number of downsides. For one, the cameras are not synchronized, making both recording and processing content cumbersome.
But Jaunt’s director of hardware engineering Koji Gardiner also said that most off-the-shelf cameras have inadequate image sensors for VR. A 360-degree camera captures the entire scene, making it close to impossible to hide a light kit from a viewer’s eye, which is why most VR is being shot with natural light. “Lighting is hard for VR,” Gardiner said. That’s why the Neo systems use a custom lens design and large image sensors to capture more light.
A number of companies have built their own camera rigs for VR, with some embracing very expensive, high-resolution cameras while others simply use GoPros or other action cams. There’s also intense debate about the number of cameras used in a VR rig. Google recently introduced its own camera rig called Jump that’s based on 16 GoPro cameras.