Facebook reveals Surround 360 camera to aid VR content drive

With 360-degree videos making News Feeds far more interesting and Oculus VR under its umbrella, it’s fair to say Facebook has a pretty vested interest in ensuring there’s plenty of virtual reality content out there in the wild.

As such, the company has unveiled an open source VR camera called the Surround 360.

The 17-lens camera, which looks a little like a flying saucer on a pole, will become available this summer when Facebook puts the designs and video stitching algorithms on GitHub.

While the design is available freely, the parts required to build the Surround 360 rig will cost around $30,000.

See also: Facebook 360-degree videos: All you need to know

The camera will be able to shoot at up to 8K resolution, while there are fish-eye lenses on the top and bottom of the rig to ensure the environment is fully captured.

Facebook, which claims this isn’t the start of an expansion into the camera business, says shooting with the Surround 360 will require very little in the way of post production.

Images from the 17 lenses will be genlocked, meaning the software isn’t required to work as hard to stitch all of the footage together. As a result, the video shot will be available for distribution a day after it is shot.

The announcement was made at the annual F8 Developer Conference currently taking place in San Francisco.

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The Surround 360 will now take on the $60,000 spherical Nokia OZO camera, which was revealed last summer.