Last May, Facebook and RED Digital Cinema announced they were working on a volumetric video camera based on Facebook’s Surround360 technology. At Oculus Connect 5 today, the company’s annual developer conference, Facebook and RED revealed a first-look at the camera, dubbed Manifold.
Manifold, Facebook says in a blogpost, captures multiple camera angles simultaneously from within a given volume, enabling what is says are “infinite perspectives to be generated from any direction within a field of view.” In short, it captures scenes volumetrically and preserves depth information for a more immersive view from within a VR headset.
Facebook’s depth estimation technology captures 3D information from the recorded scene such as characters, props, and backgrounds, and then lets you experience it in a positionally tracked headset, such as Rift or the upcoming Quest standalone headset.
While no pricing or launch date is available currently, it’s very likely aiming for the professional market—meaning big bucks, although you’d expect that for a new class of device that’s attempting to allow for users to finally watch 3D 360 video with positional tracking intact. Typically 360 video doesn’t provide depth information, even when it’s presented with a stereoscopic view, so this could deliver a new class of immersive VR video worth the wait.
“RED and Facebook worked closely to build this first studio-ready camera system for immersive 6DoF storytelling, aiming to connect creative professionals with audiences in a bold new way,” the companies say in a press statement. “We’ve made significant strides in realizing this new storytelling device—with plenty more work on the horizon—and today were excited to share the camera’s hardware design and tech specs as we continue on the road to commercial availability.”
The companies have also revealed some hardware specs, which are listed below:
- 16 RED(R) Helium 8K(R) Sensors arranged to allow full 360 6DoF capture
- Record raw from 16 cameras running 8k @60 fps simultaneously
- Custom Schneider 8mm, F4.0, 180 degree fish eye lenses
- Single SMPTE 304M cable for power, control and data
Camera Control Unit and storage device may be up to 100 meters from Camera Head
- 5, 12g SDI outputs for monitoring or third party stitch processing
- Multiple third party storage device choices providing 1 hour or more record time
- Front of lens ND filters available
- Quick release handles for maneuvering and setup
- Web app based control interface for flexibility of user interface device choice
- SDK provided for post processing