Facebook has been up to a lot the last few weeks and it's very clear that along with the belief that virtual reality is the future, Mark Zuckerberg is also taking his social media platform to the next level with video. The site recently introduced the live video capabilities that allow users to broadcast from wherever they are and post video in non-traditional pockets on the site, like event groups. At the recent F8 conference in San Francisco, the company revealed that third party apps like Vine will now be able to shoot video to have as your profile picture and that an API is being made available for developers to include in their app creation so that any camera can stream to Facebook Live.
But one of the most impressive developments is Facebook's venture into world of 360 degree video production. The Facebook Surround 360 System is without a doubt geared at the creatives who are making 3D content, especially for virtual reality production. Of course Zuckerberg wants to produce a more cost effective way to enable content creation for his future domination of the world with augmented reality. And he's putting his vision into action. This camera is not only less expensive than other top-of-the-line 360 degree cameras, but it vastly reduces the amount of post production time required to stitch the environment together.
Here's a little bit about how the camera system works:
The system is equipped with cameras that allow end to end capture in one system, letting creatives shoot footage and process the video all in one place. There are 17 synced cameras including one fish eye lens on the top and two on the bottom of the device. One of the more appealing features is the ability to control the camera with software that runs on any simple HTML supported browser interface.
The mathematically adjusted code uses optical flow to compute left and right optical disparity, essentially creating seamless stereoscopic 360 panorama of the environment. And with 4K, 6K, and 8K output, the visual footage that users will see will go beyond what is already available. It can already be viewed in a Gear VR headset and because Facebook wants the developer community to get in on creating more content, the camera design and the stitching code are going to be available on GitHub this summer - for free.
Leave it to Facebook to revolutionize the way that 3D video is produced. The usage of the social media platform may not be what it once was, but the company continues to head in a direction of innovation that will make it relevant in so many up-and-coming avenues, we may just forget how it started. The 360 Surround camera is sure to draw in creatives who want to produce high quality 3D content that can be shared and posted in more places than ever.
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