IMAX, Google Partner to Create VR Camera

The camera will be built to utilize Jump, a platform for creating and viewing 3D 360 video

Google Glass

IMAX and Google will team up to create a cinema-grade virtual reality camera, the two companies announced at Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O.

IMAX’s team of engineers and camera specialists will work with Google to develop these cameras using IMAX’s capture technology. The camera will be built to employ Jump, a platform for creating and viewing 3D 360 video.

Both corporations hope to create the highest-quality, most captivating virtual reality content to consumers.

Virtual reality is an immersive entertainment format that’s among the buzziest consumer technologies this year. It uses responsive headsets that make users feel like they’re in the middle of the action.

“For nearly 50 years, IMAX has pioneered moving image capture to allow filmmakers to produce the highest resolution images across 2D, 3D, film and digital formats,” IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond said in a statement. “Today’s partnership with Google takes us into the next frontier of immersive experiences — virtual reality — and we look forward to working with them to provide our filmmaker partners and other content creators with a level of VR capture quality not yet seen in this space. VR marks an exciting area of opportunity for IMAX and we believe this agreement, which enables us to participate in image capture and content creation, is an important first step in our broader VR strategy.”

IMAX developed its first 2D 15perf / 65mm film camera in 1976, which to this day remains the highest-resolution camera in the world. Since then, it has also developed lightweight 3D digital cameras and made a new 2D digital camera with ARRI, a manufacturer and distributor of motion picture cameras.

With this partnership, IMAX will provide Google with exclusive access to pre-existing IMAX documentary content so that Google can convert and use the material for its VR technology.

“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,” Google’s Vice President of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor said.

Last month, TheWrap reported that Amazon was also in talks with virtual reality companies about developing original virtual reality content.

Some of the world’s biggest companies are rushing into virtual reality. Other tech giants like Facebook and Samsung are pouring investment dollars into developing VR headsets and making them widely available.