Facebook announced two new Surround 360 cameras at its recently concluded F8 Conference in San Jose, California. The x24 and x6 are the second generation of Facebook Surround 360 camera (the first one was a prototype that never went on sale), and the new 360 cameras offer what Facebook is calling the ‘six degrees of freedom,’ when it comes to VR footage.
In a post, Facebook Vice President for Virtual Reality Hugo Barra, said the new cameras offer ‘the most immersive videos ever created for VR.’ While x24 has 24 cameras, the x6 is smaller and features six cameras. The x24 is capable of capturing videos and footage at “full RGB and depth at every pixel.” Facebook won’t actually be selling these cameras, but will be licensing them to some ‘commercial partners’.
The two new variants of Facebook’s 360 Camera family will drastically change how VR video is shot and experienced. For starters, it offers increased freedom in all angles or the ‘Six degrees of freedom,’ which is different from traditional VR cameras.
If viewed through a VR headset, videos and pictures shot using the 24x camera will let a user view all angles with perfect clarity. The immersive view will allow objects to move with the tilting of one’s head, giving a real-life experience, claims Facebook. There won’t be any borders, and one will feel more like floating around an area.
Not only does the camera offer a complete viewing experience, but it also offers an enhanced quality thanks to 3D pixels. This means each and every pixel has depth, and can change how VR content will be created. For VR game creators, they will be able to add 3D effects to live shots making them more immersive for the user.
As Hugo Barra explained in his Facebook post, because x24 captures objects in 3D, it can allow creators to add CGI or computer generated images straight into a live sequence. The 3D pixels overlap to create realistic images in greater depth, thus making them look more like scenes of high-end 3D games.