RED are known as a producer of high-end, professional-grade camera equipment, and recently have been involved in an attempt to create a smartphone with a holographic display. The company is now teaming up with Facebook to create a new virtual reality (VR) camera system.
Announced at F8, The VR camera system is planned to be capable of capturing high-resolution imagery in six degrees-of-freedom or 6DoF, which means the footage can be viewed in real-time from within a VR headset.
Though there is little information at the moment on what the price range of release date will be, Facebook will be backing the new RED VR camera rig as the one suggested to filmmakers working with Facebook or who are engaged in producing high-fidelity VR or 360-degree content.
According to Brian Cabral, a director of engineering at Facebook who specialised in computational photography, Facebook had some fairly specific needs. Facebook required not only excellent image quality, but also a workflow that would enable capture, review and stitching all on-set in order to create VR-ready experiences.
Facebook had previously been working on a platform called Surround 360, which launched an open-source spec sheet and hardware reference design document in 2016 which specified a 17-camera array for VR capture. This was created with the idea of helping hardware manufacturers produce a product that could be sold to consumers and other businesses, and in turn stimulate the production of more VR content.
“We’ve taken all of our learnings over the past two years and all of our cameras and algorithm development to… inform a lot of our decisions on both our partnerships and the design of the cameras,” Cabral says. “We’ve also listened to a lot of people who use our prototypes and others to incorporate all the learnings in the industry to shoot with VR cams. A lot of the feedback we get is how easy to use it on set.”
RED and Facebook have yet to release an image of the prototype, and there is no indication of a price point. However, considering that RED cameras can cost up to $50,000 (USD) the device is expected to be on the expensive side. Any futher news on the RED and Facebook VR camera will be here on VRFocus.