The Xiaomi-backed Chinese company Yi Technology is expanding into the world of VR and 360° video with two new cameras being announced at the NAB conference in Las Vegas. One is for professionals — it’s called the Yi Halo, and it was made in partnership with Google. The other is a consumer spherical camera called the Yi 360 VR.
The Yi Halo is a $16,999 17-camera monster capable of shooting stereoscopic video in 8K resolution at 30fps, or 5.8K at 60fps. It was built to work with Jump, which is a high-end VR creation platform that Google launched in 2015. The core idea of Jump is to encourage VR film-making by removing some of the biggest barriers. Google provides general blueprints for the ringed camera rig as well as server space for stitching all the high-resolution imagery together, and then gets to kick back while hardware companies and filmmakers create content to fill its budding Daydream VR platform.
Yi is just the second company to build a rig for the platform — GoPro released the 16-camera Odyssey last year. (IMAX is also working on a Jump-compatible camera setup, and Facebook has its own $25,000 and up solution in the Surround 360 rig.) The company is using modified versions of its 4K action camera to make up the Halo. And while it tops out at the same 8K resolution as the GoPro Odyssey, the ability to shoot 5.8K at 60fps is unique.