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Facebook’s 360-degree cameras now let you move naturally in live-action VR

Facebook has announced new designs for its 360-degree cameras, designed to give filmmakers more power to create even more immersive experiences for viewers.

Announced on day two of Facebook’s F8 conference, the new Surround 360 x24 has 24 lenses while the Surround 360 x6 has (you guessed it) six lenses.

Both feature the ability to capture footage using “six degrees of freedom” (6DoF), which will give viewers more freedom to move naturally in order to alter their perspective.

Providing you have a headset like the Oculus Rift with positional tracking capabilities, you can move forwards and backwards, up and down, left and right to explore live action scenes.

So, for example, viewers will be able to lean forward to get a closer look at something or lean to their left to peer around a corner.

This capability is commonplace when exploring computersed virtual reality experiences, but now Facebook is bringing it to live action in the hope more filmmakers will adopt the medium.

Related: Facebook F8 – All the news from day one

It’s a hardware and software-based solution, Facebook explains.

“We capture and then we can estimate depth,” said Facebook’s Brian Cabral at the F8 conference in California. “We actually compute for every pixel where it is in the scene.”

Facebook plans to license the football-sized cameras so manufacturers will be able to build and sell them.

Previously, the designs had been listed as open-source, but required interested parties to build them at a cost of around $30,000

Do you think more freedom to move within the environment is the key to VR video going mainstream? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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