As you probably know, the social media giant Facebook is all over video as of late. At the same time, you must have noticed that the tech world is all abuzz about Virtual Reality (VR). Thus it is no big surprise to learn that Facebook has a new project in the works.
This new endeavor by Facebook looks to design not one, but two new cameras to capture what is referred to in the video industry as spherical video. Note that spherical video is defined as video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded simultaneously. Spherical video is also referred to as immersive video. The immersive experience is possible due to the fact that the viewer can control the direction of the viewpoint during playback.
Interestingly, the two Facebook cameras could be said to represent two different market segments. The more complex orb shaped camera makes use of no less than 24 individual lenses. On the other hand, the simpler Facebook camera includes a mere 6 individual lenses. Obviously, the 6 lens camera is much simpler and less expensive to manufacture.
At the same time, according to the Facebook engineers, both cameras are engineered to shoot video with Six degrees of freedom. That means moving forwards and backwards, left and right and across the three perpendicular axes.
As a results, the captured video is more complete and much more realistic than most any other such camera on the market. In fact, Johannes Saam, creative director at Framestore, had this to say: “…If you put a headset on, the presence you feel from these images is way, way greater.”
As of now, Facebook indicates that these two immersive video camera designs are initially aimed at professional filmmakers. Both of these cameras enable the filmmakers to shoot so-called 360 degree video intended for smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. Moreover, this video can then be ported to any of the numerous VR headsets that are showing up in the marketplace.
That being said, you should also note that the long term goal that Facebook has for this spherical video technology is for those videos to eventually end up on Facebook itself. In fact, senior Facebook project engineer Brian Cabral was quoted as saying that: “…the idea is to bring people closer together through rich and immersive stories we can share with our families and friends.”
Well there you go, Facebook’s goal of connecting the world is now headed rapidly towards immersive video.