Project Jump is Google’s committal to making virtual reality go mainstream by making it cheaper and easier for anyone to produce VR video, and as reported by TechCrunch it’s going to let a lucky few take a Jump rig for a spin this summer. The company has a form up where interested creators can explain why they deserve to be one of the lucky few – it’s two pages long with some basic biographical questions and an essay section.
For those who don’t know, Project Jump is a full end-to-end solution for producing and sharing VR video with the world. It includes not only the specification for how to build the perfect 360-degree virtual reality camera rig, which is open source, but also software for taking the video from the 16 individual cameras that make up the rig and stitching them together into one, and even a special player on YouTube that in combination with Google’s cheap Cardboard VR headset will allow anyone to enjoy the immersive videos produced with a Jump camera for a very low price.
It can be easy to deem upgrades to YouTube like the ability to play 8K video as frivolous since virtually nobody can actually play back that video with their hardware, but then you realize that it all ties into Google’s ambitions to make YouTube the home for video creators for years to come. Unlike smartphones, virtual reality is still early enough in its life that doubling the resolution of the displays through which we view it makes for noticeable gains in viewing enjoyment (i.e. you can see less pixels). If it really is the future of video like some believe, it’s necessary for YouTube to support the uploading and sharing of this content early so creators have an incentive to purchase the hardware and start creating with it.
If you’re one of those creators, may the odds be ever in your favor.