The wild, behemoth 16-camera virtual reality rig that GoPro announced at Google's I/O conference is officially called "Odyssey," and is now available for purchase. But it is not for everyone. It costs $15,000, and only "professional content creators and producers" will be allowed to buy it — after they submit an application.
That price tag might make your eyes spin, but it does cover a good amount of equipment. Buying an Odyssey means you get 16 of GoPro's top-of-the-line Hero 4 Black, a microphone, the rig and all the necessary cables, a Pelican case to carry it all in, as well as a warranty and support. For a production company that's looking to get into the virtual reality game but doesn't necessarily want to go the DIY route, this could be the best option.
Odyssey is the first camera rig built specifically for Google's Jump platform, which was also announced at this year's I/O conference. Jump is an entire virtual reality ecosystem that, in theory, will make it easier to both create and consume VR content. With Jump, Google created open plans that companies can use to build their own 16-camera rig (GoPro just happened to be the first), as well as assemble software that can recreate the scene being captured in much higher quality than most existing image stitching software can. Eventually, Jump videos will be hosted in YouTube; think of it as the next logical step following YouTube's inclusion of 360-degree videos earlier this year.
There are a few obvious reasons for running this as an early-release program. One is the price — only a certain type of person (or company) is going to want or be able to fork over $15,000 for something like this. And, as GoPro and Google wade into the world of 3D, 360-degree virtual reality, both companies want make sure the experience looks great. Controlling who makes the first videos for Jump makes it easier for the companies to ensure no one ever sees bad (or just boring) content.
Google I/O: Google introduces the "Odyssey"