Facebook just announced an open source 8K VR camera called Facebook Surround 360. There have been so many exciting advances in virtual reality it is a times impossible to keep up with them all. But, this camera, if true, is a game changer for live-action VR filmmaking. It’s a 3D-360 video capture system. And even more exciting they are “open-sourcing the camera and the software to accelerate the growth of the 3D-360 ecosystem”.
Why the Facebook Surround 360 is a game changer:
The camera creates images in 4k, 6k and 8k, for each eye. The 8k resolution is a major advancement. It allows for productions made today to have the hope of long term viability in the marketplace – as the resolution of the headsets improves.
It shoots at 60fps. While we all love our 24fps motion blur for movies (and we do) the crispness of higher frame rates helps to create a more “actually there” feeling. This is essential for VR.
Their stitching code “drastically reduces post-production time. What is usually done by hand can now be done by algorithm, taking the stitching time from weeks to overnight.” This means dailies can be seen, well daily. Hence the name dailies.
The camera uses a global shutter and not a rolling one. This means that all the cameras must capture their frames at the exact same moment. When individual frames are captured out of sync with each other it is hard to stitch.
The camera is controlled via a web browser.
Check out the Facebook Surround 360 introduction video below:
Facebook Surround 360Facebook Surround 360 is a durable, high-quality 3D-360 video capture system. Building on top of an algorithm called Optical Flow, our code automatically stitches together stereoscopic video from our 17-camera system and generates seamless panoramic video in up to 8k — double the industry standard.
Posted by Facebook Engineering on Tuesday, April 12, 2016
You can read a great deal more about more about this camera here.