Spectacular discount on 4K live-streamed spherical video: Orah 4i all-in-one VR camera lands at B&H


posted Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 9:20 PM EDT


Want to get some attention and put the world right in the middle of your next live-streamed event video? If so, the new Orah 4i camera looks to fit the bill perfectly, offering live-streamed 4K video with ambisonic audio -- and you can preorder one right now from IR affiliate B&H Photo Video for a whopping 50% discount off its list price!

Slated to ship this summer, the Orah 4i is, says its maker, designed both for and by professionals. Built around four Sony EXMOR image sensors behind a quartet of f/2.0 glass fisheye lenses, Orah's creation needs twin Ambarella image processors to handle the massive task of capturing four simultaneous, hardware-synced 2,048 x 1,536-pixel video feeds at 30 frames-per-second in real-time. (A little napkin math suggests around ~377MB/second of data must be captured at this resolution and frame-rate.)

And for a fully-spherical video camera, you really do need all of that resolution. Since the video wraps all of the way around you, spherical cameras can struggle with the finer details once your viewer zooms in a bit. But with a maximum post-produced output resolution of 4,800 x 2,400 pixels after stitching together the video from its four 2,048 x 1,536-pixel video feeds -- that's actually just a little better than 4K -- the Orah 4i offers around 13 pixels per degree both horizontally and vertically. That's enough still to provide for VGA video quality, even if you zoom all the way in to a 48-degree field of view horizontally, so your viewers shouldn't suffer so much from the resolution issues as they would with video shot on a lower-res camera like, say, the Ricoh Theta S.


Sound is also a big concern for event video, and here the Orah 4i also impresses with four separate microphones which can record an ambisonic sound field. And better still, each of the four mics is a high dynamic range type, helping to ensure your audio isn't badly clipped at concerts or other similar venues that you might want to live stream. External microphone connectivity is provided for on the if you still need an upgrade in that department, however.

Both video stitching and external audio connectivity are provided for on an external device dubbed the Live Processing Unit, helping Orah to keep size and weight of the camera itself to a minimum, and to get as much heat as possible out of the anodized, precipitation-hardened aluminum body. (And even with the combination of external stitching and a metal body that shouldn't trap heat as much as other materials, the company still had to spec the camera itself with thermal pads for heat dissipation during capture of longer videos.)

Promotional movie for the Orah 4i 4K live-streaming spherical video camera.

At launch, the Live Processing Unit bundled with the Orah 4i will provide immersive 360-degree video in an equirectangular projection only, but other projections including cubic are promised in "the near future". Video recorded externally uses H.264 compression with high, main or baseline profiles, and bit-rates from 5 to 25Mbps. Live streaming can be accomplished with Adobe's RTMP or Apple's HTTP Live Streaming protocols.

When it ships this summer, the Orah 4i will carry list pricing of US$3,600 or thereabouts, but as noted at the outset, you can save a whopping 50% of the cost if you pre-order now. IR affiliate B&H Photo currently has the Orah 4i on discount at approximately US$1,800 thru the end of April. That gives you about three-and-a-half weeks to make your buying decision and get your order in. (Should you decide to place an order, please do click through one of our affiliate links, as you'll be helping to support our site at no extra cost to you!)