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As promised, Facebook delivered the Surround 360 camera open source. The project announced in April 2016. This camera will not be available commercially. The 360-degree camera will contain 17 high-resolution cameras and can be built at the cost of $30,000. GitHub will provide the information about putting the camera together and installing the software and fix problems in the working of the camera. Here is everything about Facebook Surround 360 Camera.
Facebook also listed the components needed to build the Surround 360 camera. The design specifications were also released. Facebook also released the stitching and processing software. All this make creating the videos simple.
How to Setup and Use Facebook Surround 360 Camera
Facebook intends to have more VR and 360-degree content as it is now not the only one to have this type of content, but there are competitions in the form of Google.
Facebook Surround 360 camera is a Do It Yourself project, which is expensive. Availability of the software might help the inventors to develop 360 cameras for an economical price in the future.
The blueprint for building the 360-degree surround camera is now available free for everyone, and the stitching software to put the videos together is also available. The goal of Facebook is to encourage shooting footage with this experimental format and to share it on Facebook.
The list of components needed for building Facebook Surround 360 camera are the cameras and lenses, wiring, hardware, tools, thread lockers, adhesives, machine parts, computer, other computer hardware.
Those who are interested in building the surround 360 cameras can go to GitHub and download the stitching software code and design specifications. Get all the parts ready and keep the assembly manual ready.
Facebook Surround 360 can build in just four hours. It may take another couple of hours for setting up the operating system.
The cameras needed for building the Facebook 360 Surround camera is Grasshopper3 4.1 MP color USB3 vision as recommended by Facebook. Point Grey manufactures this and the unit price of this camera is $1,295.
There is a requirement of seventeen of these cameras. A high-resolution wide-angle lens for 1” sensor is also needed, and Sunex manufactures these. The unit price of these is $129, and the quantity required is 14.
Advantages of Facebook Surround 360 Camera
There are many advantages with 360-degree cameras. One of the advantages of Facebook Surround 360 cameras is that it is high quality and is the durable camera system.
3D content can be created using this. Stitching software is also made available by Facebook and anyone can use and learn to build the camera and create content.
Though there are other not very expensive models such as 360Fly and Ricoh Theta, which cost you $400 and are off-shelf models, professional 360 camera models such as Nokia Ozo costs you %15,000.
Unlike these models, some of which are only in limited production, Facebook Surround 360 will be available immediately, and the parts needed to build it are generally available.
The videos come out of Facebook 360 Surround sound with the need of processing as the stitching software is also offered by the company. Creators can get their footage immediately and need not wait for days to process the videos.
The content shot with the camera is sharp, and this camera also offers dynamic streaming. Surround 360 is a great camera to take news feed photos or videos, and these need to be posted on Facebook only but not on other social sites. Facebook is going to have a more VR content in the coming days.
Facebook Pyramid Encoding for Optimizing 360 Video for VR
Video, no doubt, is able to catch immediate attention of the viewers rather than a bunch of plain text. The medium (video) is also able to offer a better presentation about the content. However, the video comes with a disadvantage that it takes huge space for storing and also requires more bandwidth for streaming.
Coming to 360 degrees video with VR is again a big file coming up with the same dual problems. In view of the same, there have been many attempts to reduce the file size for easier storage as well as streaming. Some of the steps in this direction included:
• Adopting cube format in place of equirectangular layouts (this reduces the file size by 25%).
• Encoding 360 videos with a pyramid geometry (reducing the file size by 80%).
• View-dependent adaptive bitrate streaming for optimized VR experience.
The above steps enabled reduction of file size and also avoided the buffering wait for the viewers. Another technique adopted by Facebook in this regard is Pyramid Encoding.
What is Pyramid Encoding? Pyramid Encoding is another step adopted by Facebook to reduce the file size of VR videos. It is a two-step process.In the first step, the base of the pyramid is the full resolution FOV, and the sides of the pyramid gradually decrease in quality.
In the 2nd step, the 36 degrees VR Video transformed to the pyramid format for each of the 30 viewpoints.There are a total of 150 different versions of the same video giving five different resolutions for all 30 viewpoints.Then the pre-generated video is stored on the server. This process is a simple server-side set up avoiding the requirement of additional software.
Then there is a programming to decide which stream to fetch next depending on the viewer’s network conditions and other parameters.However, the long waiting (buffering)no more required at the viewer’s end.This way Facebook can offer a solution for a big problem (of higher storage size and greater bandwidth) for streaming 360 degrees VR.
Facebook new invention surround 360 degree camera launched in the market. It can capture 360-degree videos on Facebook. Facebook Surround 360 is an open source camera, but it is a little bit expensive. The above is an Ultimate guide to Facebook Surround 360 degree camera launched by Facebook itself.