Facebook introduces the ‘Surround 360’ VR camera system

The Oculus Rift is officially out, and consumers are having a blast with the console. While the virtual reality gaming market is filling extremely rapidly with new adventures and experiences, one medium that is still lacking is 3D video. There is a tiny bit of the content that exists in the deepest corners of YouTube, but without an extremely expensive 3D camera rig, it’s hard for consumers to produce the content themselves.

Yesterday Facebook unveiled their new open-sourced 3D camera rig they’re calling the “Surround 360”. The module gives off the appearance of a modern UFO, with rounded corners and chamfered edges, with almost no supplementary wires or cables to be seen. While Facebook won’t be selling the rig, it is posting the code and hardware designs online for free. This gives users free reign to modify the design themselves to make the rig better and cheaper as they please, and should be a good starting point that could lead to much more affordable modules down the road. If you order the all the parts of the rig in it’s current configuration however, it’ll cost you the pretty penny of about $30,000.

That price isn’t really unsurprising, however, as the module features a 17 camera array that can shoot in 4, 6, and even 8k resolutions. The rig also features fish eye lenses on both the top and bottom sides, meaning there is no limit to the 360 degree view captured on the device. The lenses are all connected with a method called ‘genlocking’, meaning there is no post processing needed in order to stitch the video together. This allows content to be produced much, much faster than the competition, and can be distributed for consumption by VR users almost immediately. The way the cameras lock into each other also allows for easy disassembly and storage, and the UFO-like rig can be transported to almost anywhere in the world with ease.

facebook-360-surround

The open-sourced nature of the design and code should usher in a new level of access for those looking to shoot 3D video themselves, and will hopefully aid to produce new video content for those just getting their headsets. Now that said headsets are beginning to saturate the market, it’s only a matter of time before 3D video recording is just as common as traditional 2D recording today.

Are you interested in the rig? Looking to modify the hardware yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

via: Tech Crunch

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