Earlier in the year we reported on the news that Facebook had revealed its very own VR camera, Surround 360. From today, you can actually build that rig for yourself, providing you have a spare $30,000.
As the social networking giant promised back at its F8 developer conference in April, Facebook has released design specs to build the 3D 360 camera online via GitHub. According to a post announcing the release, the company has done this “so anyone will be able to contribute to, build on top of, improve, or distribute the camera.” Well, anyone with $30,000 to spend on a camera, that is. Also launched is the code for Facebook’s own stitching software, allowing you to easily and quickly view content shot with the new rig.
The company has also released a handy video you can see above. It’s all very DIY but make no mistake about it; you’ll need a lot of expensive and specific equipment and some serious technical knowhow to be able to assemble one of these yourself. The design specs will also allow some to iterate on the kit and improve it. If you want a more in-depth look at how everything works then Facebook has also published an incredibly detailed blog post about the project.
The fully assembled product houses 17 cameras with space to avoid overheating and offers a resolution of 8K per eye. We got to see some footage shot with the kit back at F8 but, while impressive, we didn’t find it to be leagues ahead of other solutions.
And, while there are some enthusiasts that might want to build on Facebook’s work, the high price has us wondering who this is really for. Surely professionals looking to make VR movies are just going to buy the right camera for the job? And with Google announcing that it’s working with the likes of IMAX to make such cameras, we’re struggling to see where Surround 360 fits in to the VR filmmaking landscape.