Facebook has introduced the Surround 360, which captures 3D 360 degree video using a total of 17 cameras and can output resolutions of up to 8K per eye. Unusually, Facebook will be making both the camera and processing software open source to give developers the opportunity to improve both.
Facebook announced that it is bringing live 360-degree video to its platform. The feature is called Live 360, and it will take people into a new experience.
The surround 360 itself features 17 synchronized cameras: 14 horizontal, a fish eye on top and two more on the bottom. Each camera has a global shutter which eliminates rolling shutter and has been designed for long periods of operation without overheating.
Facebook is presenting Live 360 in coordination with National Geographic to broadcast a stream from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Eight space scientists have been living in pods at the facility for the past 80 days to simulate life on Mars, according to Facebook, and National Geographic will capture the moment that they first emerge, as well as provide a behind-the-scenes tour of living quarters.
The company spent a reported $16.4 million on advertising the feature in the past month, including on television and on Times Square billboards. The social network is also reportedly piloting the ability for brands and publishers to purchase real-time ads in order to alert prospective viewers about ongoing streams.
A big part of the Surround 360’s story is that Facebook is opening up both the camera blueprints and processing software to developers, stating that there are ideas they have not explored and the company knows from experience that a broader community can move things forward and faster than they should. The company says that the design and code will be on GitHub this summer.
You can read the full announcement here.