“Video Content is King” is a saying that has been dominating every industry in the past few years. In more recent times, video has began to transform and take on new shape: first, it connected us with other people in real-time in the form of Live video, and now we are able to livestream our nearby surroundings with Live 360.
Live 360 is one of the hottest trends in the market, and rightfully so. With the ability to interact with surroundings beyond our normal reach, it opens the plains of stories, environments, and experiences to be explored with this new medium. With every new trend comes new demands on hardware and software to match the type of content.
Unfortunately, getting the right type of gear to produce live 360 videos is tricky. Some solutions range from way out of budget for the normal consumer, while others are less pricey but don’t provide professional quality. That is, until I was introduced to the Orah 4i.
Wait, What’s the Orah 4i?
Good question. The Orah 4i is a live 360 camera that looks no bigger than the size of a GoPro, but delivers crystal clear live 360 video better than its competitors in the market. It uses a process called “live stitching” that captures video in 360 x 360 environment and stitches it together seamlessly so you can explore the entire environment around you in crystal clear quality.
To learn more about the camera, I sought out the Head of Partnerships at Orah, a man named Arnaud Paris, who showed me hands-on the power of this camera.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today! So please tell a little bit about the origin of the Orah 4i.
"The Orah 4i is the first camera released by our company which provides the best and most simple solution for high quality VR content. Our company, Orah, has been a pioneer in the market already with over 5 years of experience in video production solutions. To speak on some of our work, we helped develop one of the first post-production stitching software called VideoStitch Studio. In addition, our other software, Vahana VR, helped kickstart the trend of live 360 videos when it was used for YouTube’s first ever 360 live stream on the platform.
When we created the Orah 4i, we felt that we had a responsibility to help the VR industry to kickstart 360 livestreaming with an all integrated solution for content creators. Seeing how the industry is now filled with eager content producers, we came up with an idea to make a consumer solution that is very easy to setup and allows people to create live 360 and VR content"
At this point in the interview, Arnaud brought in the Orah 4i equipment, explaining each component as he set up the camera for a live demonstration.
"I have a flycase here which contains everything needed to setup the camera. There is the camera that you can see here, which is easy to set up in any environment, even in crowded setups. For example, we even had that camera at the chair of the judge at the French Open. When you look at all of the solutions out there, our goal was to make the camera as little intrusive as possible
Next we have the stitching box. While the camera captures the environment, the box does all the hardwork of the camera by combining the 4 images produced by the camera to create a panoramic view of the entire world. We recommendusing an ethernet wired connection so you can have a reliable stream and get the most use of the quality produced by the camera and is very easy to travel and carry around
Once the camera is connected, we move on to the streaming interface. All you need is your phone to connect to the wifi of the box! With our application, you will have several options which will allow you to see a video preview and initiate the broadcast by including a key and rtmp address to initiate the broadcast. Our camera is able to livestream to a variety of platforms, including YouTube 360 and soon Facebook and Periscope."
Let’s get technical- what are the main features and specifications of the camera?
"Let’s start with the camera. There are four cameras and lenses, which all compose the head of the system. You will need an SD card to record footage on the stitching box while streaming and at the moment the camera is not water resistant, but we've had people asking about and in the near future we hope to include that solution.
It stitches the four cameras into a master 360 4k image at 30 fps, with the sensor sensitivity allowing one to shoot with great results even in low light environments, such as concerts, which we have been testing extensively. Additionally, we have 4 microphones built in which help capture “3D Sound” and we will soon be able to integrate that ambisonic sound into the 360 livestream. Lastly, the video bit rate can be adjusted manually to keep the 360 stream fit the available bandwidth you have on location and as I mentioned earlier, you will be able to preview and stream your video at the same time through the webapp.
On the horizon we are looking to include several features: For example, we are testing image stabilization which will help keep the image steady if you were to use the camera handheld for example. At the moment our interface is fully compatible with YouTube’s 360 live platform, but be on the lookout as we expand our horizons to include the camera to be compatible with other streaming platforms as well."
Lastly, how do you have any final word for people looking to purchase the product?
"Our intent at Orah and with the Orah 4i is trying to be accessible to both producers and content creators who want to bring value to table in this young 360 and VR industry. But as any young industry, if you're driving to the tech first and not the content, then the content will not survive. Simply put, if you're not going to have good content, the masses won't consume it. So we are trying to encourage content producers to use this camera from places that range from in-house at their content production studios to exciting and vibrant events such as music festivals and concerts. For example, any venue that wants to show on a regular basis the events they are putting together, this is the solution for you. Our focus is on reliability and simple solutions, which is why you’ll find our pricing and our features to be an excellent choice over other competitors”
On a final and personal note, the Orah 4i demo showed me the future of live 360 to come. While there may other options that one can use to stream 360 videos (which I listed in my previous Changelogs piece), I can confidently say that none can hold a candle to this camera. With a rig that doesn't require complicated setup, high quality streaming 360 video with almost no latency, and at an attainable price point, the Orah 4i is the an excellent choice for any content creator and prosumer."
The pricing for the Orah begins at $3,595 and is available to purchase here