Facebook’s new Surround 360 cameras let you move around inside a live video

Facebook’s F8 conference happened recently and they unveiled some pretty cool products. One of the most impressive of their line-up was a pair of 360-degree cameras, aimed at videographers.

Facebook announced two new 360-degree cameras, x24 and x6

The two cameras will feature x24 or x6 variants that can be bought completely or rented by film-makers. What sets these cameras apart from the competition is that they can record scenes in a high enough detail that can allow for the users to move around in the image. The cameras do this by recording the RGB and depth information for every pixel which the image is composed of. The movement of this can be akin to the perspective of a first-person shooter.

According to The Verge, Facebook has partnered with a bunch of manufacturers on the basis of the hardware. The company has not revealed other details about who these manufacturers will be, but have stated that they will not be directly selling these products. As some might suspect that these cameras would directly be related to last year’s prototype that Facebook showcased, it instead offers an improved spec-sheet, offering 8K resolution that will follow up to six-degrees of freedom for the user (6DOF), making it useful to create content for VR headset users.

Essentially, Facebook is now making what is used considerably in Hollywood productions houses for things like special effects and motion-capture, for film-makers. Facebook is also giving developers the power to add graphical elements to their videos for a more immersive and interactive experience, offering an unlimited scope for different headsets to be used in order to experience. Facebook has brought in the expertise from the likes of Brian Cabral from NVIDIA for the purpose of offering a more innovative product.

Both the x6 and the x24 cameras are part of the Surround 360 family. The only difference between the cameras are mentioned in their names, which represent the number of sensors they will each possess. In terms of usage, these cameras will be compatible with a proprietary editing work-flow which will has been made with a direct partnership between Facebook and companies such as Adobe, Foundry and Otoy, so editing these videos will be a familiar affair.

Hopefully, this should encourage small companies and professionals to develop more innovative and free-form 360-degree videos for their consumer-base. The 3D market right now, is ripe for the taking. And Facebook has just provided the means to make it possible. Pricing details for the cameras is not out yet, but last year’s Surround 360 costed about $30,000 to make. So, buyers can figure for themselves how they will need to shell out based on that benchmark.