360 degree video is taking the world by storm. Companies like Jaunt and Facebook are looking to bring the medium to the forefront of the media, by providing content which immerses viewers in a 360 degree sphere of film. Facebook in particular took to the news a few months ago to announce its new Surround 360 camera design, a spaceship-like module which uses software alongside a number of cameras to create high quality 360 degree video. The company said that it was aiming to bring the new media to the masses, and over the last few months, has added support for 360 video and photos to its site. Now, the company is looking to continue pushing the industry into the future, and is releasing the blueprints and code base for its Surround 360 camera module.
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Facebook posted virtually everything related to the camera to Github, detailing the design and code which goes in to making the camera work as well as it does. While the company can’t expect everyone to go out and make an exact replica for themselves, releasing the schematics should help to significantly advance more economically viable options. We have already seen quite a few new 360 degree cameras being produced which are targeted at the masses, but Facebook’s advanced stitching software should help to significantly advance the quality of these products.
We can’t pretend that Facebook is not benefiting from this move, however. The social network has already established itself as the hub of all things 360. Since the company announced support for 360 photos and video, hoards of media sources have flocked to the platform to show that they can be hip with new technology as well. Public reaction to the tech has been overwhelmingly positive, so Facebook has even more incentive to move this tech into the hands of more users. By hosting all this content on its own site, Facebook is keeping users on the page longer, which is beneficial to them as well. And even though the company is benefiting massively from the onslaught of 360 degree media, it’s still great that the company is helping to advance the technology the way it is.
Along with blueprints for the camera housing itself, Facebook has also shared the schematics for the remote controlled vehicle it uses to drive the camera around while filming. This unique vehicle gives photographers a more unique way to achieve harder to film scenes. A common use case for the vehicle is driving the camera around the wilderness to achieve more natural footage of nature. If you’ve seen any of the Nature films, you know that these photographers can already capture stunning footage of the wild, but something like this could help viewers to experience mother nature first hand. This is only one of the many use cases however, and we’re sure that people will want to iterate on the design to create some pretty crazy remote controlled vehicles.
The future of 360 degree agvideo technology is looking especially bright, with multiple companies releasing their source code and designs to help push the industry forward. With virtual reality technology moving forward as fast as it is, we’re hopeful that 360 degree video will move just as fast, and will revolutionize the way we experience content.
What do you think about the move? Are you looking forward to the new technologies that will be born out of this? If you want to take a look at any of the schematics or code, you can check them out on the company’s Github.