Freeflying With GoPro Omni

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Freeflying is a type of skydiving in which the flyer is in an upright or inverted position, ripping through the air in various vertical orientations at super-fast speeds. Thanks to Omni’s virtual reality technology, you can now experience what it’s like to freefall out of a plane.
Jakob Aungiers—a competitive skydiver with over 700 jumps—brought the Omni with him on one of his flights. Let’s jump and then ask him a couple of questions.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

JA: I’m a competitive skydiver and freefly coach based in London, UK. I’m 25 years old and have been skydiving for almost seven years now. Last year, I was involved in setting the new British head-down skydiving record; [it was] a 37-way, so 37 people all making a large formation in the sky whilst flying in a head-down position. This year, we decided to try to beat that record and attempt a 40-way head-down formation.

Why did you decide to use 360-degree video to capture your world record attempt?

JA: We decided that a 360-degree video would be a great new way to film the formation, because when you’re flying inside the formation, you are suddenly surrounded by people flying next to you on all sides: front, back, left and right. As a freeflyer, you don’t normally get to appreciate this, as you’re too focused on looking ahead to reference. With the GoPro Omni, we would get an incredible picture of what was happening all around the formation from a unique and inside view that no one has filmed before.

What were some of your first impressions of Omni when you used it?

JA: The first impression of the Omni was that it felt a lot more rugged and professional than I’d expected. I thought it would be a relatively small and plastic piece of kit. However, the Omni is quite the opposite, being a bigger, more durable cube made out of a fully aluminium body! Overall, it has the professional feel you would expect for serious equipment and can survive very demanding environments.
Omni has the professional feel you would expect for serious equipment

What were the main challenges and differences between making a traditional video and a 360-degree video?

JA: The first and arguably most difficult challenge was just getting the Omni positioned correctly, which became more intuitive after a few tries. I also realized that the unique thing about a 360-degree video camera is that due to it filming multiple different angles, the Omni needs to be raised up as much as possible to stop parallax effects from ruining the bottom half of the image.

What do you think about the workflow to capture, edit and share 360-degree content?

JA: Because the Omni has six 32GB microSD cards, your file sizes suddenly become a lot bigger than traditional video file sizes. And because six different cameras are acting as one, you also have the challenge of stitching them all together into one spherical 360-degree video. Luckily, the software Autopano Video Pro and Omni Importer made this whole process very intuitive and painless. Quick preview renders, auto-detection and being able to stitch shots together using a single click were all key to making the workflow as easy as it was.
The software Autopano Video Pro and Omni Importer made this whole process very intuitive and painless
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