F8: Facebook Announces Open-source 360 Camera and Video Stitching Software.
April 12, 2016: At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference on Tuesday, the company unveiled plans for an open-source 360 video camera system. It looks cool, but it’s not pretty. Regardless, it’s not about aesthetics; rather it’s about intent. Facebook’s $2Bil acquisition of Oculus, it’s partnership with Samsung, and now a 360 video system sends a clear message: Facebook is committed to Virtual Reality.
Now the company looks to accelerate 360 video content creation. The system is called Facebook Surround 360; the whole project consists of plans for a camera array and video stitching software. The camera was built using off-the-shelf components and comes in at around $30k. It’s not cheap, but that doesn’t matter. The plans will be posted on GitHub along with video stitching code – all open source. This effort should open this technology to a broader content creating community. Soon 360 content will be popping up everywhere.
Taking a page out of Google’s playbook (a la Google Cardboard), Facebook looks to enable 3rd party manufacturers to build more affordable components that, over time, will bring down the cost of cameras and encourage developers to incorporate the stitching software into consumable products.
Facebook’s Director of Engineering, Brian Cabral, blogged about the release here where you can dig into the details.
The system includes a design for the camera hardware and the accompanying stitching code that marries the video from 17 cameras, vastly reducing post-production effort and time.
Source: Engineering Blog | Facebook Code