We already know Facebook is working on the VR technology for quite some time now. Last year Facebook announced the Surround 360 camera which will be able to capture the 3D footages and then share it online through software. The company didn’t sell it. Instead, it used it as a reference to create 3D 360 content for others.
The Surround 360 camera was good, but it was not successful in delivering the complete VR experience. Thus, the company is also introducing two more 360-degree cameras this time, the X24 and the X6. These cameras are better than the previous Surround 360 camera because these two can shoot in six-degree freedom. Which means you will get a better and more immersive 360 footage than the previous version.
The difference of X24 and X6 Surround 360 camera
The X24 is bigger in size, and it has got 24 cameras while the X6 is smaller in size as a tennis ball. X6 has six cameras. Both the cameras are perfect for professional filmmakers and content creators. The X24 and X6 are upgraded versions of Surround 360 camera.
Still, Facebook is not planning to sell the cameras. Instead, it will license the X24 and X6 editions, and they will select a particular group of commercial partners. They created the X24 in partnership with FLIR. It is a company which is known for the thermal imaging cameras. The X6 version is more focused on offering in-house facilities.
Upgrade in new Surround 360 camera
So what is the upgrade of this new version of Surround 360 camera? The best feature that sets apart these two cameras is the six degrees freedom. With a traditional 360 camera, you will see the world from a fixed lens. Now if you are viewing any content from a VR headset and then you decide to shift your position, the image you see, will stay still.
So, you would not get the real world experience because in the reality when you move your position, your viewing angle also changes. Here in lies the difference. With the six degrees freedom in the X24 and X6, you can view any video or image as if you are there. You can move your head back, left, right or front, the video will shift accordingly. Thus, you can explore VR freely.
3D effects in live action
This was possible because of special software prepared by Facebook which offers “optimal pattern.” Another great feature of this new Surround 360 camera is its pixel depth. It is a brilliant feature for professional video creators. With this option, you can add 3D effects in live action footage.
According to Eric Cheng, head of Facebook’s Immersive Media, “this is a new kind of media in video and immersive experiences. Six degrees of freedom has traditionally been done in gaming and VR, but not in live action.” Facebook is partnering with a lot of companies like Adobe, Otoy, and Foundry so that they can keep up the editing workflow with the help of these cameras.
Speaking of the upgrades, the X24 and X6 are not just simply redefined version of the previous year’s hardware. These can capture 8K quality scenes with the help of six-degree freedom. According to an engineering director of Facebook Brian Cabral, “We capture and then we can estimate depth. We compute for every pixel where it is on the scene.”
Once the pixel gets a location, the viewers will be able to see it from any perspective just like a real life scene. After they are done with the depth estimation process, you can edit the video any number of times. You can use standard post processing tools like Adobe, Foundry or other tools.