Democratizing VR Content
Virtual reality has come a long way since its simple beginnings, and now it’s primed to become the next great medium. From high-end VR headsets to smartphone-powered VR systems, technology has finally caught up to the dream of creating immersive virtual experiences.
But entry into this new wave of future tech still has one obstacle to overcome before mainstream adoption, and that’s the high price; both of creating and consuming VR content. Currently, 360-degree camera rigs are bulky and unwieldy. They are held together with unsightly wires and look like a cyberpunk nightmare. All of this chaos is hooked up to a separate PC, making the whole mess quite complicated. Plus, anything that’s better designed costs an arm and a leg.
This is why VideoStitch developed the Orah 4i, a small camera rig equipped with 4 cameras that’s easy to operate and cheaper than any other camera like it. For four years, the company has specialized in stitching live-streamed 360-degree video.
The Orah 4i
At first glance, the Orah 4i looks very much like a normal webcam, which was one of the goals of the design. The rig is meant to be small, inconspicuous, and able to blend in-- which is in stark contrast to most other 360 live-stream cams.
It has four f2.0 fisheye lenses with a tripod mount underneath. Inside are the Sony Exmor image sensor, four ambisonic microphones, and two Ambarella video chips. There’s also what VideoStitch calls the “stitching box,” which is a separate unit that houses the Orah’s processing components including an Intel CPU, Nvidia GPU, and a 120GB SSD. The rig is connected to the stitching box via an Ethernet cord, which transmits both data and power to the Orah 4i.
All in all, it’s an incredibly simple setup. Although the Orah 4i isn’t intended to replace professional cameras, it does fill in the gap between regular consumers and professionals, offering VR enthusiasts a rig at a more affordable price.