Last year, Facebook unveiled Surround 360, a 360-degree camera that is able to capture footage in 3D and then render it online through specially designed software. To add more to this lineup of products, the company on April 19, 2017, introduced two new 360-degree cameras – the x24, with 24 cameras, and x6, with six cameras. The difference between the first product unveiled and the latest products announced is that the latter can shoot in six degrees of freedom, which comes with the promise of making the 360-degree footage more immersive than before.
Facebook Plans to License Designs to Commercial Partners
Facebook doesn’t have any plans to sell these two cameras directly to consumers. Instead, the company is looking for a select group of commercial partners who will do its job and release the product later this year. The versions we are seeing on the internet were prototyped in Facebook’s on-site hardware lab, Area 404, using off-the-shelf components. While the x6 prototype was entirely home-made, the x24 was made in partnership with FLIR.
One celebrated thing about these products is that the camera is smart enough to recreate what the view looks like from various angles. Another pleasing aspect of videos created with six degrees of freedom is that each pixel is in 3D and has depth. This is a cutting-edge technology for VR content creators, and it unfolds tremendous prospects in visual effects editing. With x24 and x6, Facebook plans to have a stronghold in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality; or as the company calls it “Act 2”.