Facebook has announced the second generation of the Surround 360 video camera at the ongoing F8 conference. The company announced the first generation of the Surround 360 camera during the F8 conference last year. It has improved on the design of the Surround camera dividing it into two variants: The x24, a larger and more capable one and The x6, a smaller and more portable version.

Image Credit: Facebook
Image Credit: Facebook

The larger model has 24 camera modules which form an orb shaped array while the smaller version has 6 camera modules to form an orb shaped array. Facebook is taking a different route this year, by partnering with hardware partners to make and sell these products to consumers. Last year, the company uploaded the open-source specifications to GitHub for people to make their own setup using the instruction guide.

However, the most interesting aspect of both the cameras is not the new design or the strategy by Facebook to actually sell these products. Instead, it is the new 6DoF, which translates to six degrees of freedom inside any VR scene.

Image Credit: Facebook
Image Credit: Facebook

In layman terms, this means that you can move around in any given Virtual Reality scene shot using Surround 360-second generation hardware using your VR headset with positional tracking. The second interesting thing is that the cameras shoot 8K-quality scenes for you to explore and move across.

The company detailed that it does so by using a mix of software and hardware integration and by capturing the scene and then estimating the depth of the scene. Facebook calculates every pixel of the 8K scene to compute the depth of every pixel and the give it a location in the scene. It uses its own custom cloud solution to compute the process, the video can then be edited using any software like Adobe or others. Once this is done, users can view the scene from any angle or perspective like it was a real-world scene.

Image Credit: Facebook
Image Credit: Facebook

According to an in-depth report by The Verge, developers and content creators can use this to make more engaging, immersive and real-world like experiences.

The company is trying to show creators and developers the possibilities with the Surround 360 hardware and they hope to sell the hardware some day as the hardware is too expensive right now.

Publish date: April 20, 2017 1:04 pm| Modified date: April 20, 2017 1:11 pm

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