Earlier we posted an article about the opening of Facebook’s developers conference, aka the ‘F8’, which outlined the plans for the next 10 years of VR. More exciting news has emerged from the tech giant surrounding the development and future of 360 technology.

This came in the form of ‘Surround 360’ which is an open-source 3D 360 camera. This rig is a serious bit of kit, that consists of 17 cameras set in a case that has been designed to stop any form of over-heating. As expected, the footage from each camera is stitched together using software that Facebook has been hard at work creating.

The idea of this device is not to be mass produced and sold as an on the shelf solution. Facebook will instead be releasing the designs for the enclosure along with the code for the stitching software, for people to use at their own will. More information on this can be found here.

Facebook Surround 360 Cam

Whilst the plans and software will be an open-source project, it doesn’t mean that the devices creation will come at a cheap cost. As you can probably tell by the intensity of 17 cameras, this is in no way meant for the amateur film maker. If you were looking to follow the design for the rig and create one for yourself then you’re probably looking to part with around £21,100. Now this cost might seem a bit eye-watering to us at first but when you consider the cost of other professional set ups on the market then it puts things into prospective. GoPro’s professional rig is set to cost around £10,500 and really pails in comparison for spec. Nokia have also created a 360 cam which they’ve aimed specifically at the professional market and is priced at a jaw dropping £42200. With this in mind FB is providing a cost effective solution for professional film makers and not in order for them to generate profit (directly at least).

The idea behind releasing these plans is to encourage content creators to get involved in developing 360° specific content. This ultimately benefits Facebook in the long run as we know that they’ve been optimising their social platform specifically for this purpose and the more content available, the better for them. However it’s still great to see them actively trying to build the community and give 360° video a real push in the right direction.

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