Jaunt — Blazing the VR Trail
Issue: September 1, 2016

Jaunt — Blazing the VR Trail

Founded in 2013, Silicon Valley-based Jaunt (www.jauntvr.com) has quickly made serious inroads in the virtual reality industry, blazing a trail in the development and advancement of hardware, software, tools and applications needed to help content creators deliver cinematic VR.

The company, which had launched the groundbreaking 360-degree Jaunt One camera, announced earlier this summer the availability of Jaunt One for public use via a pilot program through LA-based rental house Radiant Images (www.radiantimages.com). It also launched its Jaunt Cloud Services (JCS), a cloud-based stitching and rendering pipeline for “shooting, producing and distributing immersive cinematic VR experiences.”

Here, Post speaks with Jaunt’s Arthur Van Hoff, CTO, founder and interim CEO, and Koji Gardiner, VP of hardware engineering, about the company’s rapid growth, technology advancements and the future of VR.

The company seems to have made some incredible advancements in VR in a short amount of time. How did you do it?

Van Hoff: “We’ve been successful because we’ve been laser focused on the same thing since day one: creating high-quality, cinematic VR — and we’ve been able to do a lot in a short amount of time. We’re a Silicon Valley startup, not a huge production or entertainment company, so we’re lean. We work hard and it pays off.”

Gardiner: “In virtual reality years, three years is actually a pretty long time. If you look back to 2013, Oculus was still a Kickstarter campaign. In the grand scheme of things, we had a huge head start. By the time people started paying attention to VR in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus, we already had momentum. We were iterating and solving problems from a technology standpoint, that others were just starting to face.” 

Can you talk about your Jaunt One camera and the technology that makes it so well-suited for VR?

Van Hoff: “One key to the success of the camera is that it was designed from the ground up with VR in mind. This isn’t a foray into VR by a camera company. This is a VR company designing, iterating and building the perfect rig for them. We learned what worked and what didn’t, and the resulting camera is a high-quality, extremely-usable camera in the field. VR is completely different than shooting traditional video. For example, you can’t set up lights on a VR production set, so you need a camera that is very light sensitive. You’re going to be stitching multiple cameras together, so you need global shutter. We built the Jaunt One specifically for the unique challenges and opportunities of shooting in VR.”

Gardiner: “Not only did we build the best camera for high-quality, stereoscopic 360-degree content creation, we built it with our entire pipeline in mind. This camera works seamlessly with our stitching software. The result is a gorgeous camera, with industry-leading image quality in a variety of conditions, that’s easy to use.” 

Tell us about Jaunt One’s availability to the public through Radiant Images. What prompted that decision?

Gardiner: “A year ago, when we announced the Jaunt One camera, it wasn’t publicly available, and that was intentional. We wanted to work very closely with our partners, learn how they were using it and make sure it was production tested. We were a bit of a black box, but now we’re ready, and excited, to share the camera publicly. We want to get it into more hands to create more quality VR content. Radiant has been really involved with educating the creative community about VR, so having them as a partner was a natural fit.” 

Can you talk about your end-to-end solution, from the camera’s availability to the stitch and render capabilities in the cloud using Jaunt Cloud Services, to the publishing capabilities?

Van Hoff: “What we’ve built is a proven solution that works all the way through — shooting, editing, transcoding for various platforms and ultimately distributing.”  

Gardiner: “We’ve created a high-quality, easy-to-use pipeline that guides you through everything — capture, stitch, edit and distribute. There’s power in this whole set-up, but what’s unique about the Jaunt pipeline is you can enter at any point. You can shoot with an Ozo camera and edit with Jaunt Cloud Services. You can have an existing piece that’s completely done and you just want to distribute it. Use everything or just pieces. At the end of the day we just want to help you create that content and get it out to the world.” 

Where do you see VR going in the years ahead?

Van Hoff: “VR is going to continue to grow, quite rapidly. New devices, and specifically phones, built with VR in mind, will be hitting the market. They’re going to have better screens, better battery life and make for an overall better VR experience on the mobile devices we carry around daily. Beyond that, I think we’ll see tremendous opportunity in augmented reality, when mixing the real world with virtual reality.”