×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jaunt Announces New Virtual Reality Camera, Hints At Licensing Plans

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.

Jaunt CTO Arthur van Hoff didn’t want to reveal just yet how many cameras Neo will be using, but said that the company has realized that there is an upper limit. Jaunt initially began to experiment with arrays of hundreds of cheap cell phone cameras, but quickly realized that the amount of information captured was hard to handle, and that there was little upside over fewer, better cameras. “There is a trade-off to be had,” said van Hoff.

Jaunt is going to give first Neo cameras to select partners in August, but don’t expect it to come to your nearest Best Buy anytime soon — or ever, for that matter. Jaunt is going to use the camera to produce its own content, and to lease it to customers it is collaborating with, but has no plans to go retail. “The reason we are building the camera is we need one,” said van Hoff, adding: “We are not a camera company.”

Which is why it’s so interesting that Jaunt put so much effort into making Neo look good. The company hired San Francisco-based design studio Lunar for this task, and first preview photos released by Jaunt show a camera that looks a lot more like a commercial product than what most companies are using today. Jaunt wanted to build a camera that was recognizable, said van Hoff: “It’s gonna be onstage with famous people.”

That could help get Jaunt new customers — but the company also wouldn’t mind if camera manufacturers eventually paid attention as well. Jaunt is open to licensing its camera technology to others, said van Hoff.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Grace Helbig

    Grace Helbig Hosting Facebook Watch Show 'Ladies First' About Empowered Women

    Longtime YouTube creator Grace Helbig has a new series — coming to Facebook Watch. In the unscripted eight-episode show “Ladies First with Grace Helbig,” set to premiere Tuesday, Oct. 22, the digital star sits down with a series of “empowered women” to learn about how they’re making a positive impact. Guests include actress-comedian Margaret Cho, [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

  • reddit-snapshat-sharing

    Reddit Adds Snapchat Sharing to Its iOS App

    In a first such integration with other social networks, Reddit has added an option to share content from its iOS app to Snapchat. iPhone users can now share Reddit posts with their contacts on Snapchat, or add Reddit content to their Snapchat stories. Anything shared on Snapchat includes a special Reddit sticker, and links back [...]

  • tubi kids

    Tubi to Launch Tubi Kids, U.K. Offshoot

    Ad-supported video streaming service Tubi is the latest to jump on the children’s entertainment bandwagon: Tubi is set to launch a dedicated kids section on Oct. 21, the company announced at Mipcom in Cannes Monday. Additionally, Tubi will also bring its service to the U.K. early next year. Tubi’s new kids section will offer access [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

  • Jay Frank

    Jay Frank, UMG Senior VP and Digital Music Veteran, Dies at 47

    Universal Music executive and digital music veteran Jay Frank died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 47. UMG chief Lucian Grainge remembered him in a message sent to the company. “Dear Colleagues,” it reads. “I’m deeply saddened to tell you that our colleague and friend Jay Frank has passed after a recurrence of [...]

  • Sam-Colby-The-Graveyard

    YouTube’s Sam and Colby Unveil ‘The Graveyard’ Paranormal Series Set in London

    Sam and Colby, YouTube’s favorite DIY paranormal investigators, headed to the U.K. for their next big ghost-hunting project. The duo today released the trailer for “The Graveyard,” a four-part docu-series shot in The Langham – by legend, London’s most haunted hotel – and an abandoned church graveyard. The project is their first international expedition. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content