The Nokia OZO Review
Nokia OZO Review: Nokia decided not to venture into the VR headset party. So, in 2015 it launched the Nokia OZO, a 360 degrees’ spherical camera, specially designed for filmmakers. It’s therefore probably not a gadget an average consumer can pick up at their favorite store, it’s intended for video professionals that want to create VR content.
Nokia OZO Review
What Nokia has done with this professional offering is sidestepping from the increasingly crowded playing field, considering many major companies have already released and announced that they will be releasing VR headsets, with headsets like the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift getting all the attention.
According to Nokia, OZO aims at advancing the next wave of innovations in the VR industry, but providing powerful tools to professionals, who can thereby create amazing experiences for people from all around the world. Nokia expects that VR experiences will radically enhance how people connect and communicate stories, world events, entertainment, and each other, in the near future.
Nokia OZO Review: OZO Brings Hollywood and VR together
This can only be a good thing. The spherical (somewhat) device with a long protruding handle from the back captures stereoscopic 3D via 8 optical image synchronized sensors, and records spatial audio through 8 microphones. The user can then load their raw footage onto the OZO software and view it in real-time 3D. the content can later be published to work with VR viewing hardware such as the HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens, etc. OZO can also work with numerous third party tools to enhance and simplify production.
During its launch in Los Angeles, Nokia invited big Hollywood production houses and studios to try out its newly outed expensive toy. Clearly, OZO is aimed at professionals such as producers and directors with the money to create Hollywood grade series, movies, and interactive media. However, if you want one, it’s available for a cool $60,000.
Live Action VR
With the OZO, Nokia is trying to simplify shooting live action VR for filmmakers. Currently, it’s very expensive and time consuming to create live action VR videos. While creating CG animations for VR is similarly time consuming and expensive compared to the standard formats, so far, the main platforms have continually released more CG demos and experiences than live action.
The OZO is equipped with the latest tech from Nokia that essentially makes it much quicker to get VR ready footage to broadcasters for live transmission. It’s also already equipped with the hardware to handle 4K resolution feeds.
The most impressive of VR headsets is perhaps the ability to trick our brains into thinking that we are somewhere else. It’s therefore not surprising that live action footage plays a crucial role in thrilling and entertaining us.
According to Nokia, content filmed via OZO can be readily published for the commercially available headsets, and it will integrate into the industry’s third party tools and workflows. How long will the live action clips be? Well, that’s entirely up to the content creators but Nokia advices that VR is not something the user can watch for 90 minutes continuously. In this case, short clips are best, as they can be made to be very engaging. Short clips of 3 to 4 minutes are what works best, for most users.
Real Time 3D Playback
One of the most interesting features of the OZO is that it allows the filmmaker to monitor the footage to a VR headset in real time, and can also play low resolution footage in just a matter of minutes. As Nokia puts out, the existing professional 360 degrees’ cameras in the market relies on slower methods of stitching panoramic images from different sensors, which can take hours.
Nokia also asserts that it aims at working with the industry and build the ultimate 360 degrees specially designed to film cinematic VR. The company has been busy testing and refining the device working together with industry professionals before releasing the OZO into the market.
Nokia OZO Review: Final Word
Nokia is already aware who its target market is in the VR space; studios that produce quality cinematic VR content and experiences. Its timing was right too, making sure that users have something to download when VR devices started entering the market in large numbers. While the OZO is still expensive for amateur VR content creators, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to get a hold of it further down the line.