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VIRTUALLY A REALITY

GoPro’s new camera shows what the future of virtual reality might look like—and it’s pretty awesome

YouTube/GoPro
It’s like you’re there.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

A boom in virtual reality videos is coming and action-camera maker GoPro is making sure it’ll be a part of it. GoPro announced today (Sept. 8) that its new camera rig—called Odyssey—will be available in November, for $15,000.

While the price is steep, the rig, developed in partnership with Google, does produce some pretty amazing results. GoPro released this video of New York City, which you can watch in 4K resolution on YouTube:

The video really comes into its own when opened up on YouTube’s mobile app. You can move your phone around to see all of New York as it zips by (instead of having to click and drag like on the computer), and you can even pause the video and look around the scene you’ve paused.

But even if you have a spare fortune lying around, you won’t be able to just pick the Odyssey up at your local Best Buy and start making your own VR videos. GoPro and Google are tightly controlling who will be allowed to buy it, and have encouraged professional filmmakers to apply for access to the rig, ahead of November.

Successful applicants will receive 16 GoPro cameras, the rig to connect them all together, a microphone and a case—everything you’ll need to get set up making virtual reality (VR) videos.

GoPro
The Odyssey, assembled.

Based on the preview, tomorrow’s travel videos will feel like field trips that you can be part of from your couch. (If you have a Google Cardboard VR system, you can get a similarly immersive experience, assuming you enjoy having a phone strapped to your face.)

GoPro’s camera and launch video are another step toward the near future of VR. As more content creators gain access to spherical video cameras like GoPro’s, we’re likely to see these kind of immerse videos pop up in our daily lives. Expensive setups like the forthcoming Oculus Rift (or even cheaper Cardboard options) aren’t even needed to enjoy these videos.

Subways and buses around the world may soon be filled with commuters waving their phones in front of them as they get lost in new worlds.

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