John Carmack, Oculus’ CTO, has revealed work on a new VR video playback technology which he says is coming to Oculus Go and newer Gear VR phones. To show it off, the company is planning a re-release of the animated short Henry, which Carmack says will “set a new bar for immersive video quality.”
Update (06/11/18): John Carmack tweeted out today the availability for the company’s new 5K encoding, which has made its official debut with a prerendered version of Henry, the award-winning tale of the lonely hedgehog that first came to Rift.
The original article follows below:
Original article (05/26/18): Henry was the first VR short film released by Oculus Story Studio, the company’s in-house narrative studio which ended up closing in 2017. While Henry was originally released as a real-time rendered experience for the Rift, a pre-rendered VR video version is available on Oculus Go and Gear VR.
On Twitter today, Carmack said the company plans to re-release the pre-rendered version of the VR short, using new VR video playback tech. Carmack, a VR optimization guru, seems quite confident that the playback system will bring heretofore unseen video quality on such devices, going so far as to say it will “set a new bar for immersive video quality.” He says the new system allows for 5K × 5K playback at 60FPS (and presumably stereoscopic).
Basically, it makes a 2k x 2k baseline, then extracts the core 5k x 2k section (1k from each eye) and cuts it into 10 segments, of which only three plus the baseline are decoded at one time. Vsync locked frame release + low latency fast-path Audio 360 spatialization.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) May 25, 2018
Carmack offers no hints on when the new playback tech will debut with the Henry re-release, nor whether the playback system will be a foundational update to existing first-party video apps, or something standalone. We’d hope that the tech will be made available to third-party developers, but we’ll have to wait to hear more about the project’s scope.