×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google and Imax’s VR Camera Project Canceled (EXCLUSIVE)

Google and Imax won’t be building a virtual reality (VR) camera together after all: A joint camera project that the two companies embarked on in 2016 has quietly been canceled, Variety has learned.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on the partnership, but an Imax spokesperson acknowledged that work on the project has stopped, sending Variety the following statement via email.

“We’ve currently paused the development of the Imax VR camera while we continue to review the viability of our pilot program,” they said.

Imax launched a pilot program for location-based VR in early 2017, opening seven VR centers in big cities around the world. The company recently closed two of those centers, and plans to decide the future of the remaining five locations in the next few months, as Variety reported last week.

However, the decision to discontinue the VR camera development was actually made by Google, a source close to the project told Variety. Google pulled the plug on the project late last year as part of an apparent shift of focus toward augmented reality, according to that source.

Google and Imax first announced their VR camera partnership in May of 2016. At the time, the two companies said they would jointly develop a cinema-grade VR camera “to enable today’s leading filmmakers and content creators to deliver the highest-quality 3D 360-degree content experiences to audiences worldwide.”

The two companies worked collaboratively on the development of the camera, with Imax bringing its experience in designing high-end cameras to the table, and Google contributing its cloud-based stitching solution for VR content dubbed Jump. A total of around 60 people, including contractors, worked on the project, according to our source.

Google previously partnered with GoPro and the Chinese camera maker Yi on VR camera development. The most recent result of these collaborations was the Yi Halo, a $20,000 VR camera that captures 3D VR footage with the help of 17 individual action cameras.

The Imax VR camera has been described to Variety as a lot more ambitious, capturing a more immersive 3D experience. Signs that the partnership may have ended first surfaced when Imax included a mention of a “final contractual payment owed to Imax related to the previously announced Imax VR camera” in its most recent earnings report.

Google has in recent months been putting more of an emphasis on augmented reality apps and experiences available to tens of millions of Android users. However, the search giant hasn’t completely given up on next-generation filmmaking technologies. For instance, Google researchers demonstrated advanced light-field photo and video capture technologies at the Siggraph conference in Vancouver last week. Google also hired a number of staffers of the now-defunct light-field camera maker Lytro in March.

More Digital

  • eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    eOne Names Bill Wilson Senior VP

    Entertainment One (“eOne”) has tapped Bill Wilson as Senior Vice President Digital Operations and Innovation, Music, the company announced today. Wilson will oversee all aspects of digital strategy across the company’s music business, including label service, talent management, music publishing and live entertainment, according to the announcement.  Wilson will be based in New York City and [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

  • Hulu-Logo

    Comcast Mulling Sale of Hulu Stake to Disney (Report)

    Comcast is holding talks with Disney to see if they can hammer out a deal to sell Comcast’s one-third stake in Hulu to the Mouse House — which would give Disney full control over Hulu, CNBC reported. The report comes a little over a week after AT&T sold its 9.5% stake in Hulu to the [...]

  • Cox Cable Testing a Form of

    Cox Cable Testing Gamer Network Service to Reduce Lag

    UPDATED: Cox Cable is testing a new “Elite Gamer Service” that is designed to speed up connections between gamers and games, but which the company says doesn’t prioritize internet use. The service began testing in Arizona this week and Cox tells Variety it plans to run the test for about three weeks. The $15 a [...]

  • Angie-Nwandu-The-Shade-Room

    The Shade Room, a Top Instagram Celebrity and Gossip Publisher, Unveils First Slate of Original Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Shade Room, a top Instagram-based media publisher focused on black culture, entertainment and celebrity gossip, is launching three new original series on the social platform. The five-year-old venture, the brainchild of entrepreneur Angelica Nwandu, runs one of the most highly engaged accounts on Instagram: @TheShadeRoom, which has 15.3 million followers (referred to as “Roommates”), [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content