Meet Google and Yi’s Monstrous New “Yi Halo” 4K Camera, With 17 Action Cams
Stephan Jukic – April 25, 2017
Google and Yi, working together have launched what can only be described as a monster of a 4K ultra HD Jump camera for the near future of virtual reality.
The Yi Halo camera, as it’s called is the product of recent collaboration between tech giant Google and the Chinese imaging company and camera manufacturer Yi, whose other recent –and much less extravagant- individual 4K action cameras we’ve reviewed quite favorably before. The Yi Halo camera is designed for highly immersive virtual reality interfacing at a professional level and comes with a total of 16 different Yi 4K cameras in a circular arrangement with a 17th camera placed atop this circular assembly for an even wider viewing space. The camera itself has been built by Yi and all of its 17 individual joined-together cameras are from the company. However, the assembly’s capacity to stitch together all of its visuals comes from Google’s Jump cloud stitching software technology, which uses smart stitching algorithms from a Google cloud for fully stereoscopic 360 degree viewing and VR construction of visuals.
The camera’s overall resolution specs are also nothing short of impressive as hell, as should be expected when you seamlessly stitch together so many 4K video cameras. The shooter can produce streamed stereoscopic 3D video feeds at up to 8K resolution at 30fps and in 6K resolution at 60fps. These total 360-degree resolutions of course suggest that each of the 17 Yi cams onboard isn’t used at its maximum resolution when they’re all working together. Thus, we don’t yet know if the camera array could also eventually be made to stream full 360 degree video from all of its 4K cameras with each recording in full 4K.
Another remarkable thing about the Yi Halo camera is its impressive portability and lightness. This powerful device weighs in at only 8lbs with al 17 cameras and accessory hardware combined.
Google first unveiled the Jump system in 2015 for the sake of simplified virtual reality creation but has recently expanded their software into collaborative projects with camera manufacturers and Yi is only Google’s second partner in this so far. The search engine giant also recently collaborated with GoPro for a Jump-based GoPro Odyssey camera setup.
This entire apparatus was introduced just yesterday at NAB 2017 in Las Vegas and will start going on sale as of the summer for a price that’s definitely not in the budget consumer range -The camera is expected to retail for $17,000. Some early release units of the Yi Halo camera are however already being made available to a limited group of 100 (so far) professional users. Aspiring video production pros who want early access to their own Yi Halo camera can send in an application for early access via this link before May 22, 2017.
Here’s a video from the Yi Halo’s creators explaining a bit more about this remarkable piece of VR technology.
Story by 4k.com