Will Nokia’s 360° OZO camera change video production?

  • Posted by info 19 May

Will Nokia’s 360° OZO camera change video production?


In March 2016 Nokia released its OZO camera in Europe. The OZO is a spherical camera with eight synchronised cameras and microphones that can record 360° audio and video. Vesa Rantanen, head of Research and Development at Nokia tells Wired  “We’re working with movie studios and live performance artists – musicians and sportspeople – and also a lot of short form content; filmmakers, video makers and documentaries.”

Here’s why we think the OZO might be revolutionary:

The Technological Advantages

The OZO camera may not be the first 360° camera, but it is making big strides in making 360° and virtual reality production more accessible to filmmakers. The futuristic, stylish looking OZO allows content creators to view footage whilst the camera is recording, and their optional wireless remote means that the camera can be adjusted on the go. The OZO is perfect for use with drones, as it is wireless and the combined battery and memory back allows filming for up to 45 minutes.

Nokia set out to create the OZO camera to fill the video content gap following the recent technological push towards making Virtual Reality headsets.. This will make producing 360° and virtual reality content easier and more accessible, especially since content filmed on the OZO can be viewed with any headset.

Virtual reality has in the past been better known for its relationship with games, and the two are very closely interlinked, both seeking to give users a truly immersive experience. We’ve come far from the Virtual Boy, which was the first commercial attempt at introducing virtual reality to an audience (the Virtual Boy was discontinued less than a year after its’ commercial release), and VR headsets can now be bought for as little as £11.99 (Google Cardboard).

Adoption by Cinema

Given cinema’s attempts to draw the audience into a story more and more with the advent of 3D and 4DX, 360° footage and virtual reality seems like the best step forwards for cinema, and it’s one that large studios like Disney are more than willing to take. Many of Disney’s more recent films are a visual spectacle, even in 2D, and the thought of being completely immersed in films like Captain America: Civil War or Star Wars: The Force Awakens is truly something to behold.

Disney has partnered with the Nokia OZO to produce behind the scenes content, the first of which being a 360° cast interview and a 360° view of the red carpet premiere for Disney’s recent live action adaptation, The Jungle Book. They have also announced that one of Disney’s upcoming films will feature 360° behind the scenes content.

Level of Use

Whilst footage from the OZO can draw the audience into the story entirely, and effectively provoke an emotional response from the audience (particularly, I think, in horror films. Imagine the monster in a horror movie seeming like it’s literally behind you!), is that viewing experience going to be better than viewing multi, or single camera footage? When focusing the camera on one thing, a filmmaker can get across emotions on an actor’s face, which may be missed in 360° footage. A director will also have difficulty in directing an audience’s attention in a 360° film, as there are a great many things for the audience to look at.

OZO Camera

Foolproof have also discussed directing the audience’s attention as an issue of 360° filming, as they point out that it is impossible for filmmakers to frame their shots. The Chuck 360° is referenced by Foolproof as a good way to avoid this limitation, as the viewer’s gaze is directed by changes in the volume of the narration, which is lowered if you look away from where the filmmakers want you to look.

There are some, such as The Singularity Hub who think that the development of virtual reality technology will cause the closure of cinemas as it becomes so popular, but others are not convinced. Vice notes that our own internal monitors can cause us to feel ill when using a virtual reality headset- if the camera is sent lurching forwards in a film, but your body knows you have remained seated, you can be left feeling sick and dizzy. Warren Spector, director of the Deus Ex game series, denounces virtual reality as a “fad” that will not take off for entertainment.

Only time will tell whether 360° filming and virtual reality are the future of the media industry or merely a passing fad. Personally, I think this style of filming has more of a home in games, but I think there’s definitely potential to create some interesting results for short films, as we have already seen in this short film about Aleppo, Syria, and I can’t wait to see how filmmakers use 360° filming, as the advent of technologies like the OZO show us we haven’t seen the best of 360° filming yet.

Here’s the 360° interview with the cast of the Jungle Book: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyJungleBook/videos/1520642841295367/

Check out this Star Wars Virtual Reality by pipocaVFX:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uG9vtckp1U&feature=youtu.be

Or this VR short film shot in Aleppo, Syria: http://petapixel.com/2015/09/22/the-first-ever-vr-film-shot-in-a-war-zone-with-a-360-camera/

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