By: Brian Cabral, Engineering Director
Facebook and Oculus are dedicated to enriching the way we tell stories through our continued investment in immersive VR content and 360° cameras. Over the past year, we’ve worked to realize the next phase of our x6 and x24 6DoF capture prototypes and set out to find a camera manufacturer with uncompromising image quality and cinematographic acumen.
Today, we’re pleased to announce our partnership with RED Digital Cinema, the world’s leader in digital cinematography. RED’s unparalleled image and pixel quality combined with Facebook depth estimation technology will deliver an all-in-one solution for high quality and realistic 3D and 360° capture.
RED brings unparalleled image quality with over 16-stops of dynamic range and high spatial resolution, making it ideal for many VR capture scenarios. The high spatial resolution and dynamic range allow for new levels of depth estimation and 6DoF realism.
But image quality is only half the story. RED’s experience with on-set workflows and studio-quality interfaces means that with this camera, for the first time, creators can express themselves through a professional tool in VR.
Pixel Quality and Low-Light Performance
One of the biggest challenges in creating 6DoF content is how to capture imagery even from the darkest corners in the scene. Normally in cinematography, if some part of the scene disappears into a dark corner for artistic purposes, the final result will be fine or even desirable. However, for 6DoF capture, ideally every pixel contains scene data. This places an enormous burden on the camera sensor since it now has to be able to capture more light. RED’s ability to capture over 16 stops’ worth of light steps up to that challenge, meeting the algorithmic requirements of depth estimation and artistic demands of a linear color workflow.
Focus on Professional Expression
We wanted to empower professional storytellers with sharp, crisp and clean images to ensure high visual fidelity. From the on-set workflow through the end post-production experience, our goal was to give storytellers the best tools available to craft next-generation stories. RED optimizes pixel count and caliber to deliver superior image quality for professional content creators. Joining forces with RED ensures best-in-class camera sensor design and a robust image processing pipeline.
Facebook’s industry-leading depth estimation technology captures full 3D information about all objects in scenes to deliver a complete 3D reconstruction. Add in 6DOF capture—the ability to simultaneously film multiple angles from within a given volume—and you can generate infinite perspectives from any direction within a field of view so your audience can explore the scene freely.
By combining the best camera technology with cutting-edge algorithms, we can create incredibly powerful tools—but the magic of immersive storytelling can only happen when you’re able to work with those tools in an intuitive way. To date, the 3D workflow has been well established within the CGI industry while the on-set workflow is ubiquitous in the field of digital cinematography. We’re marrying the two into one seamless package with all the elements of the workflow toolchain combined. From capture with this new camera to depth estimation with OTOY and editing/post-processing with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Foundry, and OTOY, we’re optimizing for premium immersive output that can be experienced on Facebook and in VR.
Facebook is helping VR and 360° content creators tell the stories they want to tell in amazing new ways. We can’t wait to step inside the worlds of your imagination.