Imax, Google Team to Create 'Cinema-Grade' VR Camera Rig

VR headset- E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo -Getty-H 2016
Daniel Boczarski/WireImage

The virtual reality camera aims to get Google and its Jump technology closer to Hollywood.

Imax on Thursday confirmed it has partnered with Google to develop a "cinema-grade" virtual reality (VR) camera.

In a partnership that could bring Google closer to Hollywood, the giant-screen exhibitor said the companies would work to design a "high-resolution" VR camera that incorporates some of Imax's camera technology, which in the cinema space is use by such directors as Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Bay and Zack Snyder. However, the announcement didn't provide any details as far as planned resolution, frame rates or other features.

It did reveal that the Imax VR camera would use Jump, a Google platform for creating 3D 360-degree VR content for the consumer market. This currently includes a camera rig that holds 16 GoPro cameras, as well as stitching software to create a single, 360-degree image.

"Imax is known everywhere for their incredible immersive cinematography and sound, and we're delighted to have them contribute their decades of experience in cameras and content to the Jump platform," Clay Bavor, vp virtual reality at Google, said in a statement.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond was not available for comment, so it's unclear how this co-development will be tailored for the professional VR camera market, if at all.

Hollywood is already at work on a host of content for both VR and 360-degree video platforms, though the VR camera market is still in its early stages. It includes all-in-one cameras including the $60,000 Nokia OZO 3D VR camera, as well as a developing camera system from Jaunt. Many other VR cameras configurations includes rigs that house GoPros or other such existing cameras.

In the cinema space, Imax is working on a "lightweight" 3D digital camera as well as a 2D digital camera that's being developed in partnership with ARRI.

The young VR headset market most notably includes Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, HTC's Vive, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard. Additional systems are still in development, including Sony's Playstation VR, which is expected to launch in October.