With their high-quality video resolutions, tiny bodies and minimal weight, GoPro cameras have always been a great choice for mounting to aerial drones. This probably won’t come as a huge surprise from a company whose constant innovation has kept them at the top of their game, but at this week’s Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, GoPro revealed to Recode that they’re currently working on a quad-copter drone aimed at the consumer market.
No details have been released regarding the design or pricing yet, but GoPro is planning to launch their new drone in the first half of 2016 (In case you’re now wondering, the title image on this article is our editor’s own photoshop foreshadowing of the concept).
Click below the break to read about Contour’s merger with iON cameras…
Despite the fact that they are entering the drone market GoPro has no plans to go the proprietary route, and will continue working with other drone manufacturers to provide compatible cameras and software solutions. The company’s CEO Nick Woodman said GoPro recognizes that consumers want choice, and they’re happy to play their part in enabling people to create amazing visuals as opposed to attempting a hostile takeover of the market.
GoPro also announced their new six-camera spherical array, a mounting contraption which enables six Hero 4 cameras to be used for producing virtual reality video. This will hopefully prompt the production of more virtual reality MTB/Cycling videos like the one Shimano produced last December to launch their current XTR product line. As the team riders scream down two interconnected trails, you can adjust the view to look up or down, watch the riders in front, behind or see the scenery whiz by beside you.
The video files must be stitched together but GoPro just happened to recently acquire Kolor, a VR software company who makes a program that creates a unified 6K spherical image. The finished videos can be viewed on virtual reality headsets like Oculus, Google Cardboard or Microsoft Hololens, but also on smartphones (with the Kolor app or YouTube 360) and PC’s. With smartphones, users can physically turn around or look up or down as the image moves accordingly, and on PC’s you can scroll with your cursor in any direction to look around as in the Shimano video.
GoPro expects the Spherical Array to attract interest from professional and prosumer video producers, as the production of VR video will have to get simpler and cheaper before the average consumer can take advantage of the technology. The Six-Camera Spherical Array will be released in the second half of this year, and pricing has not yet been announced.
iON Cameras Merge With Contour
In the shadow of GoPro’s success, it’s almost funny to think back and remember that Contour basically started the point-of-view camera industry. In recent years the pioneering brand had fallen a bit by the wayside, but recently they announced a new chapter for the company as Contour and iON cameras are set to join forces.
The merger brings together Contour’s international brand recognition and ownership of critical design patents with iON’s engineering and manufacturing expertise in wearable cameras and their rapidly growing North American distribution network. The joint organization will work together to innovate hardware and software solutions to make video filming, editing and sharing easier for consumers.
ION cameras’ CEO and founder Giovanni Tomaselli will serve as CEO of the newly merged company, and Contour’s current CEO James Harrison will take the title of President. Both brands will continue to exist, and the Contour name will remain on the higher-end products. Between the two brands, the company aims to provide a wide lineup of camera products at every price point for amateurs and professionals alike.
The merged entity intends to continue with POV action cameras, but also reach into the broader market of wearable and connected cameras. iON already produces a live streaming home security camera, and some of the non-sports applications the merged company intends to pursue include security systems, dash cameras for vehicles, and tactical/police cameras.