Keeping its promise, Facebook has just open-sourced the hardware design and software stitching code for its Surround 360 camera, a 3D-360 video capture system announced in April. The camera design and code are now available on Github, giving tech enthusiasts an opportunity to build a camera.
All you need is $30,000 (£22,749) to build Surround 360 that comprises 17 cameras and four megapixel camera lenses that are capable of capturing 4k, 6k and 8k 360 video. After shooting the video you can use a Samsung Gear VR headset to view the 360 video content.
Once you have all the parts ready to build the Surround 360, it would take about four hours to assemble and another couple of hours to set up the operating system using the assembly manual. There are challenges of rendering stereo 360 video, one of which is the huge amount of data involved — 120 GB per minute of video.
"We set out to open source this and accelerate the development of this ecosystem and capturing 360 video. We believe it's the first camera to be fully open sourced end-to-end," Brian Cabral, Facebook's director of engineering on the project, told Techcrunch.
"Build it yourself, modify it, make different versions — that's the goal. We wanted to connect the world with rich, new media. This is how we can get there faster," added Cabral.
A camera professional who wants a portable and durable camera for commercial purposes might have to spend thousands of dollars. For instance, $60,000 will have to be shelled out for a Nokia Ozo, whereas Surround 360 can easily be assembled and the creator can tweak it according to his needs.
With the design available on Github, developers can not only customise the camera, but can also give suggestions for changes that Facebook can share with the community. "They can help improve our blueprints," said Cabral.
Last November, Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg shared a 360 video shot in North Korea by ABC News saying: "We think people will share a lot more 360 content in the future, especially as technology makes it easier to record it themselves. We're excited you can discover them on Facebook."
Following this in May this year, Zuckerberg again shared a 360 video of Grand Central Terminal in New York, claiming it to be the first 360 video produced using the new Surround 360 camera.