The action camera company previewed a VR and 360º solution with the announcement of their latest GoPro Hero model.
“Dress for adventure, GoPro-style,” was the only information I was given for planned festivities held on September 28, as GoPro announced their latest and greatest, the GoPro Hero6 Black, with a massive daylong press junket through San Francisco. They started the day with a fully packed audience in the California Academy of Sciences’ Morrison Planetarium, the world’s largest digital planetarium dome. With 90' x 75' projection, that theater holds nearly 300 people, so you can guess how interesting it was to transport that many people around the city on three chartered San-Fran-vibe hippie party buses.
Waterproof to 33', the heart of the new Hero6 Black is a new processor, the GP1, which can achieve up to 4K60, or 1080p at 240 fps, which looked pretty cool as slow-mo spliced in with the rest of the 4K footage projected overhead my seat at the Morrison.
The first stop for our hands-on testing tour was the Rocketboat, where speeding through the surf and spray beneath the Golden Gate Bridge made for nice slow motion, high-frame-rate capture. After lunch, it was off to hang with street artists as they showed the technology geeks all about spray painting.
GoPro was excited to show me the more consumer-oriented GoPro Quik app, which automatically edits QuikStory videos into 1080p60 while wirelessly transferring footage to your phone. I didn’t use it on the junket, as I was worried about phone battery, but I have since, and it’s a pretty easy and fun way to get footage up to the web fast. I can see it being really useful for sports shooters. (The Hero6 Black has triple the WiFi offload speeds of previous models. Dynamic range and lowlight performance has also been improved.)
Also impressive was the footage and editing software from GoPros upcoming spherical capture camera, the GoPro Fusion. With 5.2K resolution, the waterproof Fusion can be placed on the ground and left alone, which is fairly ideal for the v-logger, documentary, and events crowd that GoPro pursues. It’s also on a gimbal, so footage is smooth while moving.
Not just for VR and 360-video needs, with OverCapture, 2D footage can also be fluidly converted from the spherical capture for what is more or less an almost unlimited POV. Fusion even self-stitches away its own body. Multiple angles can be edited together from the selfsame camera, for example.
GoPro also added Follow and Watch selections to their Karma drone for automatic tracking and framing. A Cable Cam mode on the Karma has been enhanced with 10 waypoints to program elaborate takes, too. Calling the events “The Moment,” there was lastly a giant send-off, with a moderated Q&A with CEO Nick Woodman. He fielded questions from the audience, literally, as the party was on a giant soccer arena with a variety of collegiate-style party games, like oversized Jenga.
“There is no question that people are consuming traditional fixed perspective video today, and when all you content creators saw what you could accomplish with OverCapture, and how it positioned Fusion as arguably the camera with the most creative potential of any camera in history, it became clear to us that we need from the developmental perspective to focus on OverCapture,” explained Woodman about the editing potential of the OverCapture app. He also answered that the Karma should be able to fly the GoPro Fusion with some third-party maneuvering, and that the GP1 processing has not been fully accessed in regards to unlocking possible future frame rates.
Fans should also expect the smaller GoPro Session line to continue.