Facebook Unveils 360-Degree 3D Video Camera

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Social-networking giant, Facebook at its annual F8 developer conference on Tuesday, announced a 17-camera array for capturing 360-degree 3D video called Surround 360.

The device uses Facebook’s proprietary algorithms to automatically stitch images together.

Shaped like a flying saucer, the camera will cost about $30,000 to make.

The Surround 360 camera is not aimed at consumers, but filmmakers. The camera records in 3D and is able to produce images in 8K resolution.

“We’re not going to sell the camera,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer.

“We’re trying to help create a great reference device,” Cox added.

Facebook acquired virtual reality gaming firm, Oculus for $2 billion in July 2014. The tech company said that although the Oculus is primarily a way of playing games, but soon the headset will foster a new breed of communication and entertainment atop its social network.

In 2015, Google and GoPro launched Odyssey, a $15,000 16-camera rig for making 360-degree videos, this year, Samsung announced Gear 360, a handheld camera for capturing 3D content aimed at the consumer market.

Facebook however believes its 17-camera setup might be more appealing because it includes software that marries the images together, reducing the amount of time it takes to make a 360-degree video.

“We had to do a lot of math,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, speaking at the company’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

“The eye is so sensitive, especially if you put it in an immersive environment.”

In a separate Facebook post, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote as he laid out his company’s 10 year roadmap as part of his keynote at the F8, “Over the long run, we’re building planes and satellites to connect everyone to the internet; artificial intelligence to help us interact with services more easily; and virtual reality to help us experience the world in a totally new way. I’ve always believed that giving more people a voice makes the world a better place, and I’m excited about the future we’re all building together”

Facebook has been pushing hard on video over the past couple of years, the company recently started encouraging users to broadcast live videos directly to friends using the camera on a phone.

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