Facebook’s 360-degree camera setup is a bit different than others on the market. At approximately $25,000, it’s not a steal, but you can build it yourself. And as of this week, you can also edit its design.
Facebook on Tuesday uploaded the camera’s design blueprint and stitching code to Github, allowing anyone to improve on or adapt the rig’s specs to their specific needs.
“We are very excited to contribute all the hardware designs and software as open source and to continue to iterate on the design, the code, and the whole 360 pipeline in the future,” Facebook research scientist Forrest Briggs wrote in a blog post. “We hope this will inspire others to build their own stereo 360 rigs and, most of all, to capture truly immersive experiences.”
Facebook isn’t just doing this out of the kindness of its heart, of course. While it may not make any money off of the camera, open sourcing its design will likely lead to more high-quality, 360-degree footage. Video posted to Facebook is highly profitable, so much so that Facebook is willing to shell out millions of dollars to its most popular content creators.
The camera itself is actually a rig composed of 17 different cameras. The stitching software takes the images they capture and transforms them into a stereoscopic 360 panorama suitable for viewing in virtual reality.
“This software vastly reduces the typical 3-D-360 processing time while maintaining the 8K-per-eye quality we think is optimal for the best VR viewing experience,” Briggs explained.