Facebook has declared their revolution. The video revolution. Here are some of the highlights of what their latest adventures in advancing the social media platform has been and all we can say is that it’s BIG.
Late last year, Facebook announced to the world their 360 video attempt that would revolutionise how people shared video content. In the schpiel from late last year, Facebook declared that you could now not only watch your friends uploading their ‘who-wants-to-watch-this-drooling-baby-video-again’ videos in landscape and vertical but Facebook had firmly placed their finger into the 360VR pie with an update to the social media app that allowed you to virtually ‘be there’.
In the case of the drooling baby video, let’s say one could virtually sink their face into infantile spit. Not that we don’t like babies. We do but only when they smell nice and when they’re sleeping peacefully, all OD’ed on formula.
But enough about babies – we are switching our minds back to Facebook’s amazing new update about the Surround 360 camera that compliments their 360 and ‘live’ video campaigns that were rolled out in the last 6 months as we begin a new age in Facebook’s video revolution.
It’s official. Facebook is on the warpath with competitors, Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat for instant ‘live’ video and 360 VR video domination in the next chapter of the social media platform’s video revolution.
So bring out the pom poms everyone! Here are more opportunities to get depressed about your friend’s expensive holidays and weddings and get even more needless advertising being blasted onto your newsfeed.
At the F8 2016 that kicked off yesterday, which packed a full house of 2,600 people and hundreds of thousands of people watching around the world via ‘Facebook Live’, the consensus was clear – Facebook was looking to be the platform that connects the dots on content sharing sky-rocketing it straight into the AI and VR/AR worlds.
Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the conference with a keynote detailing Facebook’s 10-year technology roadmap, and the ways those technologies would help bring people together, while giving everyone a voice.
So far, Day One announcements include the following: (ref: Facebook Newsroom)
- Live API: Facebook Live has been incredibly successful, and now the social media platform will open up their API so developers can design even more ways for people and publishers to interact and share in real time on Facebook.
- Bots for Messenger: As part of the new Messenger Platform, bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages — all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them. The Messenger Send / Receive API will support not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action.
- Facebook Surround 360: Facebook has designed and built a 3D-360 camera system called Facebook Surround 360 that produces sharp, truly spherical footage in 3D. The system includes stitching technology that seamlessly marries the video from 17 cameras, vastly reducing post-production effort and time. The social media platform will be making the design specs and stitching code available on GitHub this summer.
- Profile Expression Kit: People can now use third-party apps to create fun and personality-infused profile videos with just a few taps. The closed beta kicks off today with support for six apps: Boomerang by Instagram, Lollicam, BeautyPlus, Cinemagraph Pro by Flixel, Lollicam, MSQRD, and Vine.
- Free Basics Simulator & Demographic Insights: It’s now easier for developers to build for Free Basics with the Free Basics Simulator, which lets them see how their service will appear in the product, and Demographic Insights, which helps them better understand the types of people using their services
- Account Kit: Account Kit gives people the choice to log into new apps with just their phone number or email address, helping developers grow their apps to new audiences.
- Facebook Analytics for Apps updates: More than 450,000 unique apps already use this product to understand, reach, and expand their audiences, and Facebook will now be introducing more features to help developers and marketers grow their businesses with deeper audience insights, and push and in-app notifications (beta).
- Quote Sharing: Quote Sharing is new way for people to easily share quotes they find around the web or in apps with their Facebook friends.
- Save Button: The Save Button lets people save interesting articles, products, videos, and more from around the web into their Saved folder on Facebook, where they can easily access it later from any device.
Whether there will be some backlash to the above developments coming from Facebook is left to be seen though, as they attempt to look like the cool kid on the block again since there is immense revenue driving potential in 360 and ‘live’ videos.
Your video social update is just the first step. Think of the potential for gaming or designing even, from the Facebook platform itself and how it can be a one-stop centre for all sorts of content imaginable. (There goes our website!)
Plus there are so many video creators and storytellers out there who are at the cutting edge of exploring this medium, that Facebook has taken it one step further to address the big question about how such complex content could be fed into their NewsFeed and they did it by making available in the next few months, an open source design for the 17-lens 3D VR camera that would make the spaceship from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” look like Cookie Monster.
This Darth Vader-ish looking prototype that requires no laborious post-production work, unlike other VR rigs, will be the bedrock of the social media’s platform’s hopes in getting more people to build their own hardware and software to produce 360 content for the platform.
Facebook Surround 360 is an attempt to create a professional grade end-to-end system that would capture, edit and render high-quality 3D-360 video. Some of the highlights of this system are:
The VR Capture System
The capture system consists of three components that must all function at ideal performance levels otherwise quality of footage and reliability will be compromised. They consist of the hardware (the camera and control computer), the camera control software (for synchronized capture) and the stitching and rendering software.
High Grade Quality Footage
Expect the highest resolution that the eye can take with this camera with resolutions hitting up to 4K, 6K, and 8K per eye. Due to high bandwidth and data demands, 6K and 8K output will use Facebook’s Dynamic Streaming codec for Gear VR.
State of the Art Capture and Stitching Solution
The Surround 360 is a reliable, production-ready camera that is a state-of-the-art capture and stitching solution with zero post-production required.
It all sounds fancy and really, quite impressive. The only drawback with the open-sourced system? It’s price tag. Sitting heavily in the USD$30,000 bracket, this system is definitely not a steal and will require many, many more testing phases before it can be done right and done for cheaper. Nonetheless, it is the foundation and core of Facebook’s new video revolution, coming to a newsfeed near you.
To learn more about the camera, see Facebook’s engineering blog.
Ref: Facebook Newsroom/Engineering Blog
H/T: Tech Crunch